GFM Network News


A focus on improved management has allowed Alberta beekeepers to put the “dark days” of massive winterkill behind them, says provincial apiculturist Medhat Nasr.

A close call averted for Alberta beekeepers

A decade ago, winterkill was up to 40 per cent annually — a rate that could have ravaged the beekeeping sector

The good news is Alberta’s bee populations are currently strong and healthy. The deeper story is just how close the province came to losing this priceless resource. Medhat Nasr, provincial apiculturist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, has been closely involved in the challenges and comeback of the province’s bees in recent years. “Over the past […] Read more

Award recognizes producers who help pollinators

Nominations open until August 12

Nominations are being sought for the 2016 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. Individuals or families in Canada currently implementing pollinator protection measures on their farm or ranch are encouraged to apply. The award recognizes farmers and ranchers who have made significant efforts in conserving natural ecosystems, fostering additional pollinator habitat, and protecting pollinators. It is […] Read more


Don Ruzicka, shown here in an eco-buffer, has planted 100,000 trees and shrubs on his farm.

‘Eco-buffer’ boosts pasture productivity for Alberta producer

Letting nature do its job got Don Ruzicka off a treadmill of 
clearing trees, draining wetlands, and poor returns

Some people look for signs — other people just find them. For producer Don Ruzicka of Killam, the motivation behind the past three decades of land management on his farm was quite literally a sign. Before he purchased his grandparents’ farm in 1983, Ruzicka worked in the logging industry. “The first day I flew into […] Read more

Alberta is home to nearly half of the honeybee colonies in Canada.

Alberta honeybees are busy — but not well understood

Researcher says there’s a lot to learn about how honeybees could be used to further boost canola yields

Having bees around your canola field might be good for your yield, but the exact details of how and why are not known yet. That’s where people like Shelley Hoover, apiculture researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Lethbridge, comes in. Hoover’s research deals with bee health, bee pollination, and the impacts bees have on […] Read more


Alberta beekeeping workshops set to begin

The province is putting on four beginner beekeeping workshops, two intermediate ones, and two on farm food safety and biosecurity workshops. “These workshops are designed for new entrants as well as experienced beekeepers by providing up-to-date information on better management practices from start to setup,” he says. Workshop speakers include provincial apiculturist Medhat Nasr, apiculture […] Read more

Bumblebees and other wild bees offer significant pollination value compared to honeybees and leafcutter bees.

Wild bees can boost your yields

FarmTech: There’s an estimated 300 species of wild bees in Alberta, and they can’t be beat as pollinators

Wild bees buzzing around your field can give you a bigger bang for your buck than honeybees or leafcutter bees. That’s because they actually do a better job of pollinating, said bee specialist Ralph Cartar. “Our whole world is built around managed bees and using honeybees as best we can, but in fact, the most […] Read more


Medhat Nasr receives honours

Provincial apiculturist Medhat Nasr was recently given the Roger A. Morse Outstanding Teaching/Extension Service/Regulatory Award. The award committee cited Medhat’s two decades of research, teaching and extension work with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, Rutgers University, and, for the past 13 years, in Alberta. “I would personally like to thank you for sharing your work with […] Read more

Uploaded pics of diseased honeybees will boost pest surveillance.

App offers instant link to bee disease info

The free app will be enhanced to allow picture uploads, 
and that will boost the bee pest surveillance database

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 […] Read more


Beekeepers bank on biodiversity in pasture lands

Canola is a great source of pollen and nectar — but only for one month of the year

As the Alberta countryside gets eaten up by field crops, pastures are becoming a “safe haven” for field crop pollinators. “Bees spend maybe a month sitting in a canola field, and in that month, they have adequate supplies of pollen and nectar from the canola,” said Adam Ovinge, a beekeeper from Granum. “The problem is […] Read more

Bees and neonics are making headlines, but Alberta beekeeper Lee Townsend 
says there is more to the story.

More heat than light in neonicotinoid controversy

Neonics have become one of those issues that creates deep divides. Are neonicotinoid pesticides silently poisoning our world, with bees serving as the canaries in a toxic coal mine? Or is the whole thing just the latest cause célèbre promoted by radical environmentalists who have a hate on for “industrial” farming? The already rancorous debate […] Read more