January 2023

The Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association issue a quarterly newsletter to all members. This is comprised of industry news and updates, upcoming events, upcoming sales and relevant articles. If you would like to get involved with, or contribute to, the newsletter, please email:
2023 Membership
Just a reminder that your membership for 2023 can now be renewed. The forms are due by January 31st, 2023. To find a copy of this form click HERE
From the Boardroom
Tyler Hobbs - NSBA President
Good day members,

It is another stormy day here in our province. Lately, this is the only type of day it seems I can get these types of tasks done. With Christmas fast approaching, it is natural for our thoughts to turn toward family, friends, and get togethers and I would like to take a moment to mention that. Forgiveness and second chances go a lot further during the holidays so let me encourage you, from one beekeeper to another, to maybe give that family member or that friend another try. T’is the season after all.

Now, let’s get down to business. I have to admit that board meetings during harvest and winter prep time are a tricky endeavour. However, your board members are “soldiering on” on many fronts including AGM prep, research and education investments, and ATTTA continuation to name a few. Let’s take a closer look at those three:
-         The upcoming AGM is particularly exciting as it is the first in-person meeting our association has been able to have in 3 years. The board is busy lining up speakers, renting a wonderful venue (to be announced) and making sure the needs of our membership will be addressed. With all the changes that are happening (involving veterinarians in your practice, miticide resistance, and updates from all parts of our industry), this is an AGM you won’t want to miss!
-         We have found another place to invest our research and education monies in the form of understanding shrews - the damage they do and how to better (and more affordably) reduce their impact on our honeybees. Thanks to connections from PhD Andrew Byers at ATTTA we have teamed up with Dr. Don Stewart, Professor at the Department of Biology at Acadia University to help us get to the bottom of this rodent problem. We look forward to sharing the findings with you in the year to come!
-         Our dear friends at ATTTA are coming to the end of their 5-year funding cycle and are seeking another 5 years of funding from our Provincial and Federal governments. The NSBA has agreed to do our part to help them meet their industry funding requirements of 15%. We are joined by other similar groups around the east coast in a rallying effort to show the government just how important it is to keep this extremely beneficial resource here in Atlantic Canada. This will ensure that the unique needs of beekeeping in our area and climate are properly researched and handled. This just highlights one more example of how Nova Scotia, and indeed Atlantic Canada, has teamed up to show that we are better together.

A big thank you to our private sponsors and to Compass Distilleries who continues to donate $1 from every bottle sold of their flag ship beverage, Royal Gin. These donations make a big difference in our research and education fund every year. Also, the association could not continue the way it does without the assistance of our sponsors:
• Golden Green (Silver),
• Farm Credit Canada (Silver),
• Dancing Bee (Bronze),
• Dalhousie University Extended Learning (Bronze), and
• Perennia (Bronze)
If you or someone you know would like to donate to the NSBA Research and Education fund, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of your board at any time.

As your president, let me assure you that you can be proud of your board members and impressed with the time they are volunteering for the benefit of all beekeepers here in Nova Scotia and, more specifically, you our member. If there’s a way that you can express your thanks to them, let me encourage you to do so. A word of encouragement given in appreciation is no small thing.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from us here on the board to you. May your holiday be filled with love.
2022 Silver Sponsor
2022 Silver Sponsor
ATTA Update
Andrew Byers - Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture
The Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture’s efforts to provide extension to beekeepers and support the building of pollination capacity of honey bees for lowbush blueberries has kept us very busy during this past season. With no restrictions on travel and the ability to meet in person, we have moved around the region to speak with beekeepers and conduct field trials uninhibited. 
In the past few months, the team has grown in number to undertake additional field work. As well as the two full time apiculturists, ATTTA had the addition of three summer students. Working full time all summer, John MacDonald and Rebecca Campbell supported our work in their rolls as apiculturists. After joining ATTTA as a co-op student, Greg Dugas continued with the team part time throughout the summer. All three of the summer staff have returned to Dalhousie AC to continue their education. The rest of the team wishes to express our gratitude for the hard work and long hours contributed by our summer employees.
In addition to our field research, ATTTA was present at a number of meetings and events. The highlight of these was the Atlantic Bee Tour hosted by the NSBA. This event, centered in Antigonish, was well attended by beekeepers from across the Atlantic region. A great deal of valuable information was exchanged, as well as time spent interacting with beekeepers. Meeting new beekeepers and reacquainting with others was a feature of this event. ATTTA was please to recently attend the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia fall meeting and AGM. Beekeeping was a focus of this event with a very useful commercial beekeepers meeting held in parallel to the WBPANS agenda. A recent visit to Prince Edward Island, for the PEI BA AGM was another great opportunity for ATTTA to talk with beekeepers and listen to informative speakers. 
Our field work this past summer focused on three areas. We undertook further and ongoing applied research into pollination efficiencies for wild blueberry production. In response to national concern over Apivar efficacy, ATTTA did a Maritime wide research project on amitraz resistance. The third project was an expanded pilot study into outdoor overwintering of banked honey bee queens. This project was additionally funded by the NS Beekeeping Association Research and Education Fund. Thanks to the Association for this extra support.
Winter is the time for beekeepers to reflect on the season past and prepare for the season to come. As part of this process, many beekeepers engage in professional development activities. ATTTA is please to provide workshops through the winter months in support of ongoing learning for our region’s beekeepers. All members of the NSBA are welcome to attend these sessions and more information is available through NSBA Facebook and our own blog . There are also other meetings and events supported by your Association, such as the NSBA AGM, which always have a strong educational component. We hope to see you at some or all of these events in the upcoming months.

Links to additional information:
What’s the Buzz with ATTTA blog:
ATTTA@beeatlantic Twitter:
2022 Bronze Sponsor
Provincial Apiculturist Update
Jason Sproule - Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
Hello NS Beekeepers,

I hope this season finds you well. I have just a few more days in the office before taking some extra vacation time around the holidays. There is just enough time for a couple more meetings and hopefully put some projects to bed before the end of the year.
We are still progressing through the many beekeeper registration renewal forms that have been sent to us. Thank you to everyone who submitted their 2023 registration form. For those who have not, registration forms are available at I hope to have registration certificates sent to you in early January. With over 900 forms to manually enter, and some staff reorganization to deal with Fiona fallout, we’re a little further behind than I had hoped, but are working to catch up. I am aware registering has not been a smooth process and some beekeepers have experienced significant delays in correspondence or other issues. I ask for your continued patience as we continue to improve this process.
One other repercussion of weather – many hives, even those that were fed, went into winter a bit light. It seemed the cold weather was slow to arrive this year and bees were active quite late into the season, suggesting they were burning through their food stores with little flora left to replenish them. If hives seems a little light in late winter, you might consider supplementing with fondant to tide them over until they can be given 1:1 liquid syrup in spring.
In November I participated as a subject matter expert on a Pollination Panel at the Wild Blueberry Producer’s Association AGM and spoke to some of the challenges beekeepers contend with to supply hives for pollination. Despite some of the difficulty in managing hives for pollination, there is opportunity here for beekeepers looking for additional revenue streams. The blueberry industry has indicated demand for pollination service is likely to increase in the coming years, and average rental rates have never been higher. Given the high winter losses that occurred across much of Canada last year (45.5%), there is also a lot of demand for NS hives to be exported to recoup losses or satisfy pollination needs in other Provinces. Hives that leave NS are not permitted re-entry, so this puts a lot of pressure on remaining hives to satisfy pollination needs in our Province. For more information about managing hives for pollination please see some of the resources provided by our Atlantic Technology Transfer Team for Apiculture (ATTTA) at Honey Bees – Perennia.
Apivar resistance has been a major topic of concern in meetings recently and is occurring in several other provinces. Apivar is the preferred synthetic treatment for Varroa mites and strips are routinely placed in hives to control mites in early spring. When mites develop resistance to a treatment, the effectiveness of that treatment drops substantially. When that genetically-linked trait is spread through the population, we risk losing the protection of those treatments. There are other synthetic miticides available such as Bayvarol and Apistan, but these two chemistries are alike and share the same mode of action to control mites. Past resistance issues with Apistan suggest that we need to carefully manage resistance of these two products as well and not rely on either to be a sole-substitute for Apivar. Identifying and bringing new miticides onto the market is costly and challenging, requiring much scientific evidence to demonstrate their efficacy, human safety, and safety for bees and environment. Registering products with Health Canada’s Pest Management & Regulatory Agency (PMRA) can take years, and there are no alternatives currently in the regulatory pipeline. Therefore, it is imperative that we preserve the use of Apivar for as long as possible.
To delay Apivar resistance, beekeepers should 1) rotate between synthetic treatments on a yearly basis, such that Apivar is not used every spring. 2) rotate treatments within the season such that botanical based compounds, or organic acid-based treatments are used when needed later in the season. 3) Treat for mites, only when mites are present. Beekeepers should routinely perform mite counts to quantify mite levels and treat only when a threshold of 1-3% level of infestation is surpassed. 4) Follow all label instructions as if it were law – because it is. 5) Only use products registered with PMRA – not illegally imported products or your own concoctions.
The annual import Protocol is being drafted and should be published in January. As a reminder an Import Permit is required anytime bees or used hiveware are brought into Nova Scotia. Please contact me directly for inquiries about importation. An inspection reminder will go out in late March and I will begin to book hive inspections at that time. Anyone selling bees is required to first obtain an NSDA inspection report. I advise prospective buyers to request the seller to produce the report so you can verify inspection has been done and note any health concerns present at the time of the inspection.
I hope everyone has a safe and warm holiday season and wish you much fortune and happiness in the new year!
2022 Bronze Sponsor