Celebrating 156 years of B.C. beekeeping with the Day of the Honey Bee

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Working Bees via Shutterstock

In celebration of the growth of beekeeping in B.C., May 29 will soon be known as the Day of the Honey Bee.

Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick will make the declaration to recognize how beekeeping in the province has grown since May of 1858 when two hives arrived in Victoria Harbour. Since then, the industry has transformed into the $250-million-a-year agricultural impact you see today.

With more than 2,300 beekeepers throughout B.C. taking care of upwards of 47,000 colonies, that means there’s as many as two billion bees at work in the province. Bees are known to play a key role for fruit, berry, and canola farms, and are worth nearly $1.5 billion in agricultural production for Canada each year.

B.C. bees alone produce about $10 million worth of honey and other hive products a year.

According to Minister of Agriculture, Norm Letnick, recognizing the importance honey bees play in human survival and daily life is a key part of The Day of the Honey Bee.

“The Day of the Honey Bee is a great reminder to people to appreciate how much bees contribute to our daily lives, our economy, and our food supply,” says Letnick.

The B.C. government is proud of the partnership the Ministry of Agriculture and bee keepers have developed over the years, the support our Animal Health Lab and apiarists provide to bee keepers large and small, and the quarter-billion-dollars in agricultural production that results from honey bee pollination in B.C. each year.”

In 2009, Clinton Shane Ekdahl, a beekeeper from Saskatchewan, was the first to push for the Day of the Honey Bee campaign to raise awareness about honey bees’ mortality rates being double the amount considered unsustainable. The initial Day of the Honey Bee took place in 2010 and since then, local governments, provincial legislatures and the Canadian national government have adopted versions of the Day of the Honey Bee.

May 29 was selected as the Day of the Honey Bee to honour New Zealand beekeeper and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary’s ascent to the summit of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.

Featured Image: Working Bees via Shutterstock

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Jeff Clowers is a former Editorial Intern. He is a BCIT Journalism grad and avid sports fan - Go Eagles! Covering all the happenings of the Greater Vancouver area.
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