COVID-19 stings Canadian honey production, yield declines but prices are up

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      The pandemic has impacted beekeeping in Canada.

      A new report says COVID-19 stung honey production, resulting in a drop in yield.

      Canadian honey producers harvested 82.9 million pounds of honey in 2020, according to Statistics Canada.

      The volume represents a 4.3 percent reduction from 2019.

      Statistics Canada noted that this came about “as some beekeepers were unable to procure queen bees because of import and travel restrictions during the pandemic”.

      However, the total value of honey sold rose 14.9 percent to $208.8 million in 2020.

      In a report Thursday (December 17), the federal agency explained that the “drop in supply pushed prices higher”.

      Statistics Canada noted a decline in healthy bee colonies caused by COVID-19 restrictions on imports and transportation.

      There were 746,612 bee colonies in 2020, a 5.6 percent drop compared to 2019.

      This is the “lowest number of colonies since 2016”, Statistics Canada reported.

      “Under normal circumstances, queen bees are flown in via commercial fights due to temperature requirements to keep the bees alive,” the agency explained.

      The disruptions in commercial flights reduced the supply of queens and package bees, Statistics Canada said.

      This in turn “prevented some beekeepers from restoring their colonies following high winter losses, especially in Alberta”.

      Alberta is the largest honey-producing province in Canada.

      With less production, the report noted that the price of honey produced in Alberta increased by $2.13 per pound.

      This means that producers in the province received an average of $2.13 per pound for their honey.