Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

Beekeepers in New Brunswick say 2020 is shaping up to be a sweet year for honey production, despite the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan Golden, vice-president of the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association, says the province lost a lot of bees during the past few years – a phenomenon he says is tied to climate change.

But this year’s bee population is more stable, he said in an interview Monday, adding New Brunswick’s hives are heavy with honey.

Story continues below advertisement

“Considering how dry our summer has been, my hives are bringing in tons of honey,” Mr. Golden said. “Mid-summer flowers are coming on now, and if it stays on course, it should be a decent honey year.”

But despite this season’s flowing honey, losses over the past few winters have been heavier than usual, he said. “From a beekeeper’s standpoint, two or three years in a row – that’s pretty devastating to try to make a living.”

Mr. Golden said bees can usually survive a typical New Brunswick winter. “But with climate change, our winters have been extremely mild, or even worse, mild one day and cold the next.” He said when temperatures remain cold, the bees cluster together to conserve and generate heat. But if it warms up, many bees leave the cluster.

“If it gets suddenly cold that night, you end up losing a large portion of the colony,” Mr. Golden said. “If there’s too much death during the winter, the colony is too weak in the spring.”

Michel Melanson, a crop development specialist with the province, said during a good year, about 90 per cent of hives survive the winter, but for the past few years, many beekeepers only saw a survival rate of 70 per cent to 75 per cent. While exact numbers aren’t known, Mr. Melanson said the survival rate last winter was much better.

Mr. Golden said there are currently about 13,000 colonies of honey bees in New Brunswick – but that’s fewer than half the number needed just for the pollination of blueberry crops in the province. The rest of the insects have to be brought in temporarily from other provinces such as Ontario.

Mr. Golden said many beekeepers split their colonies in the spring and require new queen bees for each new colony. But last spring, getting new queen bees from places such as California and Hawaii was almost impossible because the pandemic had slowed postal services, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“If you’re going to send insects or live animals through the mail,” he explained, “it can’t be sitting there taking two weeks to get from point A to point B. They need to be sent within two to three days.”

Mr. Golden said the bees are also used to pollinate cranberries, apples and other crops. Honey, he added, is really a bonus.

On average, New Brunswick produces 250,000 to 300,000 pounds of honey each year, Mr. Melanson said, adding that a few years ago, production peaked at more than 400,000 pounds.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies