Nova Scotia

N.S. online matchmaker specializes in pollination

A new website is helping farmers in Nova Scotia promote the blueberries and the bees.

Bee numbers up this spring

Peter Burgess says there aren't enough bees in Nova Scotia to pollinate all of the province's blueberry plants. (CBC)

A new website is helping farmers in Nova Scotia promote the blueberries and the bees.

The online matchmaker, The Bee Line, specializes in introductions between the province's blueberry growers and the bee keepers. It’s a place for the bee keepers to offer up any excess hives they have to rent.

"Essentially it’s a dating service that allows the people that need the pollination service to contact them directly," said Peter Burgess, a farm consultant with the company Perennia, which operates The Bee Line.

Nova Scotia has lots of blueberry growers, but not as many bee keepers.

"Trying to connect those up and get those relationships going is important," said Burgess.

He said they don’t have enough hives to pollinate the province in a good year.

Burgess said The Bee Line’s job is just to create buzz between the two sides. What the grower and the bee keeper do after the initial introduction is up to them.

Good year for bees

Meanwhile, beekeepers in the province say it looks like a promising year is shaping up. Hives are being opened now and more bees than usual have survived the winter.

That reverses a trend over the last decade of bee colonies faltering. The worst year saw 40 per cent of bees die; only 15 per cent died this winter.

"The results to date look very good," said Joanne Moran, the provincial bee health advisor.

Bee deaths in Europe lead to a band on corn pesticides made from synthetic nicotine. Beekeepers in Ontario are calling for a similar ban, but it doesn't seem to be a problem in Nova Scotia.

Moran said the good spring turnout is based on two things. "Lots of food and lots of bees," she said.