New bee app takes flight in Alberta
By Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Sept. 8, 2015 - Alberta beekeepers will have better access to bee disease and treatment information through a new mobile app developed by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
The free app for iPhone and Android is an easy to use tool that will link beekeepers to pictures and current information about pests, diseases and recommended management practices.
"Our province has one of the healthiest bee populations in the country, and the app will help keep it that way," says Medhat Nasr, provincial apiculturist. "This app will assist beekeepers in quickly identifying potential bee disease and treatments. It will also help our staff collect essential pest surveillance data and enhance our understanding of bee health in our province."
A second interactive phase of the app is currently being developed to allow registered Alberta beekeepers to submit bee photos directly to provincial apiculture staff, who will assess health issues and recommend treatment options. Findings will also be recorded in the provincial bee pest surveillance database.
Alberta houses 283,000 honey bee colonies, representing approximately 43 per cent of the total bees in Canada. Farm cash receipts from honey sales and pollination service fees in Alberta are approximately $75 million per year, and the market value of honey bee contributions to the pollination of pedigree hybrid canola and canola crop production is estimated to be $650 million per year.
In 2014-15, Alberta had its lowest winter mortality rate in the past eight years, with only a 10 per cent bee loss in the 165,000 wintered honey bee colonies surveyed. That compares to the national average of a 16 per cent loss and the American average of 23 per cent.