Recent years have been tough on North American bees, but a new VanCity report shows they’re thriving in BC. Not only that, but they’re keeping the economy buzzing too.
SFU professor Mark Winston says BC bee colonies suffer the lowest losses of anywhere in North America, a success that’s helping them boost the province’s bottom line.
He says the insects contribute a half-billion dollars yearly to the economy, most of it in the fields.
“Bees are absolutely essential to our crop production. $468 million worth of crops are pollinated by bees.”
The rest comes from product sales, which he says have room to grow with a booming interest in local honey.
“There’s a potential for at least another 50 million dollars in income, partly due to improved pollination, but also due to increased honey sales of local honey, and also for selling bees. Because bees are dying all over North America.”
And he says there’s an export opportunity too, with US colonies losing half their numbers every year.
“Particularly in the United States where 45% of every colony dies each year. Some of that is due to maybe a little bit less pesticide use in British Columbia, it’s also a real tribute to the quality of our beekeepers, and to the British Columbia environment which is very rich and diverse.”