GFM Network News


Curtis Miedema

Beekeepers got knocked down but they got up again

Reading Time: 3 minutes Despite many tribulations, beekeepers are optimistic about getting a good honey crop this year After two terrible, no-good, very bad years, Alberta’s beekeepers are feeling a little more optimistic. Poor weather severely reduced production in 2019, then came high overwintering losses, then the pandemic brought a maelstrom of troubles, and then more bad weather. “Last […] Read more

A Halictus bee on an aster. This is an example of the native bees that live in Alberta and thrive on diverse plant species.

Native pollinators want to be your buddies

Some simple things can make your land more attractive to pollinators

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no denying that native pollinators are important — and there are things you can do to encourage these keystone species to come live on your land. Native pollinators are critical for forages and crops, agroforestry specialist Luke Wonneck said during a recent Foothills Forage and Grazing Association webinar. “Pollination is plant sex. Because plants […] Read more


File photo of an Ontario cherry orchard. (UpdogDesigns/iStock/Getty Images)

Ontario extends lost-labour production insurance

COVID-related coverage held over for 2021 program year

A temporary expansion of Ontario’s AgriInsurance program, to cover losses caused by COVID-19-related short-handedness on the farm, will be held over. The province and federal government on Dec. 22 announced the expansion of coverage will be extended to cover the 2021 program year — and that it will insure production of “additional commodities.” Further details […] Read more

Beekeepers get increased support

Beekeepers get increased support

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Alberta Beekeeper Stock Replacement Program is being expanded and extended. The $1-million government program helps beekeepers offset increased colony replacement costs by ensuring any queens purchased between April 1 and Sept. 30 will be eligible for funding, and by extending the submission deadline to Jan. 29. Many of the province’s beekeepers saw substantial losses […] Read more


Asian giant hornets have noticeably large orange heads and black eyes; worker hornets are about 3.5 cm in length; queens can be up to four to five cm in length, with a wingspan of four to seven cm. (B.C. Ministry of Agriculture)

Two more ‘murder hornets’ turn up on B.C. mainland

One nest found last month in neighbouring U.S. town

Beekeepers in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland are asked to keep an eye out for so-called “murder hornets” after two were found in the region within a week. A single Asian giant hornet was found Saturday at Aldergrove, near the intersection of Fraser Highway and Highway 13 — about five km from where […] Read more

Beekeepers to get $1 million for replacement colonies

Beekeepers to get $1 million for replacement colonies

Reading Time: < 1 minute In response to the recent challenges faced by Alberta’s beekeepers, the provincial Agriculture Ministry is introducing a new Canadian Agricultural Partnership program. The program will include up to $1 million to help beekeepers offset the costs of increased colony replacements due to COVID-19. The program, available this summer, will be retroactive to cover issues faced […] Read more


Asian giant hornets have noticeably large orange heads and black eyes; worker hornets are about 3.5 cm in length; queens can be up to four to five cm in length, with a wingspan of four to seven cm. (B.C. Ministry of Agriculture)

More ‘murder hornets’ found in B.C., Washington

Findings suggest some were able to overwinter

Reuters/Staff — Officials in British Columbia and Washington state have confirmed new sightings of the Asian giant hornet, dubbed the “murder hornet,” indicating the invasive, predatory insect survived the winter in the Vancouver area and U.S. Pacific Northwest. The stinging hornet, whose queens can grow as large as 2-1/2 inches in length, could potentially pose […] Read more

ian steppler

Bees cannot live on canola and alfalfa alone

‘Agriculture blooms for one month a year’ and so maintaining pockets of natural food sources is critical

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cropland’s encroachment on nature threatens to starve bees and pollinators, says beekeeper Ian Steppler. “Where we find a balance within our countryside between agriculture and nature is where we find tremendous growth and prosperity,” said Steppler, a crops and cattle producer in Manitoba who has 1,500 hives and produces over 250,000 pounds of honey per […] Read more


This summer was bad for bees because they fly — and forage — less when the weather is cool. Many Alberta beekeepers are reporting their honey production is down by half this year.

Cool weather, price drop hits Alberta honey producers

A poor honey crop and low prices spell bad times for the province’s beekeepers

Reading Time: 4 minutes This summer’s cool weather didn’t just have a negative impact on grain crops — it meant honeybees weren’t flying. And that has some commercial beekeepers in the province facing a dire economic situation. Most producers have substantially lower honey yields this year, said Connie Phillips, executive director of the Alberta Beekeepers Commission. That was borne […] Read more

Flow Hive co-creator Stuart Anderson (flanked by MacEwan sustainability director Kalen Pilkington and beekeeper Troy Donovan) checks
out his creation on the roof of one of the university’s downtown buildings.

You can’t beat the view from these beehives

Flow Hives became an internet sensation and are now a fixture on a downtown Edmonton rooftop

Reading Time: 3 minutes Bees that have called the rooftop of one of MacEwan University’s buildings home since 2016 recently received a special visitor — the architect of their unusual hives. Australian Stuart Anderson, co-creator of the Flow Hive, dropped by the building in downtown Edmonton to see how the urban pollinators like his creation. Anderson and son Cedar […] Read more