B.C. Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries Minister Lana Popham released the following statement on Day of the Honey Bee in B.C.:
"The Province is proud to proclaim May 29, 2021, as Day of the Honey Bee in B.C. There is so much to celebrate about these amazing creatures, from the integral role they play in our food system, to conserving our biodiversity and improving our overall quality of life.
Every year, B.C. farmers plant seeds in their fields and rely on pollination from honeybees and other pollinators to ensure their crops grow and result in the local and trusted foods we depend on. From orchards to u-pick farms, honeybees are crucial to our food security and help put fresh, nourishing, local produce on the tables of families in our communities.
Behind these tiny insect workers are our hard-working beekeepers who are passionate about bees, bee health, and, of course, honey. Thousands of British Columbians invest time and energy into learning about and caring for bees and their hives. In every region of B.C., honey producers and beekeepers are contributing to both the local and provincial food supply and economy. In 2019, bees in B.C. produced over 1.7 million kilograms of honey!
Though a single bee can fit on my thumbnail, overall bee health is incredibly important to our food security and is something we all need to work on together to promote and support. We want our beekeepers to be as prepared and as knowledgeable as they can be, which is why we are partnering with the BC Honey Producers Association to support a new Bee Tech Transfer program with $525,000 over the next three years. The program will help deliver education, applied research, and other services to over 3,600 beekeepers in the province. I am so excited to see the learning, growth, and relationships that are sure to come out of this new program, and how they will help B.C. bees!
We are also committed to improving and expanding local bee colonies without relying too much on imported hives and queens. With the support of B.C. beekeepers, we are looking at alternative ways to develop a larger provincial population of honeybees and native pollinators. Working together, we will succeed.
These efforts are in addition to Bee BC, which began in 2018, to support beekeepers and beekeeping associations, as well as regional and community-based organizations around the province. The latest round of funding is supporting 20 current projects, including educational sessions for 4-H British Columbia members about planting and taking care of bee forage in the Bulkley Valley and converting 16.2 hectares (40 acres) of pasture into bee forage in the Okanagan. Each of the 86 projects Bee BC has funded since 2018 are supporting bee health and helping future generations of bees.
On this Day of the Honey Bee, I encourage you to take a moment and look at the ways honeybees contribute to your daily lives and to join us in support of B.C. bees. You can enjoy some local honey, join a neighbourhood naturalist group that supports bee habitat or add bee-friendly plants to your garden or balcony—all these actions make a difference.
And to all the beekeepers in B.C., from hobby farm beekeepers to large-scale bee producers, a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued effort and dedication to B.C. bees!"