PEI

Province steps in to close bee hive gap

The P.E.I. government has stepped up with $150,000 to help Island beekeepers meet the demand from blueberry growers this year.

P.E.I. short thousands of hives

P.E.I. needs more bees to pollinate the blueberry crop. (Shutterstock)

The P.E.I. government has stepped up with $150,000 to help Island beekeepers meet the demand from blueberry growers this year.

The funding, going to 17 beekeepers, is part of the province's Pollination Expansion Program.

The province conducted a survey of blueberry growers to estimate the need this year, and of apiarists to see how many bees they had.

"We were seeing that there was a gap of a little over 2,000 hives," said berry crop development officer and provincial apiarist Cameron Menzies.

"We're trying to close that disparity and make sure that we have enough hives here to pollinate the crops."

The announcement of the funding was made by Agriculture Minister Rob Henderson in the legislature last week.

Menzies said the province hopes the Island's beekeepers can add another few thousand hives with the funding, but that it could take more help to fully bridge the gap.

The ultimate goal is to make P.E.I.'s pollination industry self-sufficient, without needing to bring in hives from out of province.

In the meantime, there are new measures being put in place to prevent small hive beetles from entering the Island with imported hives.

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With files from Katerina Georgieva

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