Province takes action on discovery of threat to bee population

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St. Stephen – The provincial Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries is taking all the necessary measures to mitigate the risks associated with the discovery of small hive beetle infestations in bee hives in northern New Brunswick.

A spokesperson for the department said inspections on the Acadian Peninsula earlier this month identified the first time presence of small hive beetle in colonies rented for blueberry pollination from one beekeeper from Ontario.

These colonies, as well as nearby New Brunswick, and other Ontario colonies, have been put under a no-movement quarantine, and require the permission of the Provincial Apiarist to be removed.

Approval is being granted for the imported colonies to return to Ontario, and they must be removed before the blueberry flowering period ends, and no later than June 22.
Staff is spot-checking other colonies from Ontario, and will continue to monitor for the pest through the rest of the summer.

The findings have also been reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to other provincial apiarists, and to the New Brunswick Beekeepers Association.
The department will actively continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly.

Over the last decade, small hive beetle has been confirmed in honey bee colonies in Ontario, Quebec and throughout many States, including Maine. Small hive beetle is considered an invasive, and unwanted pest, but is successfully managed in many jurisdictions. In 2016, the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries stepped up monitoring for the small hive beetle in order to help reduce the risk of establishment.

No small hive beetles were found in NB during the 2016 monitoring period.

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Kathy Bockus
Journalist Kathy Bockus is based in St. Stephen and has worked for The Saint Croix Courier as a general news reporter and feature writer for the past 15 years. She began her lengthy newspaper career in 1974 with a daily in Saint John. Bockus says she always jokes being a reporter is a licence to be nosey, but firmly believes that everyone has a story to tell. She can be contacted at 321-0759.