The federal Government of Canada and the Canadian Honey Council (CHC) are seeking input from the bee industry on a new voluntary national biosecurity standard that will help bee keepers minimize the risk of pests and diseases in their colonies.

“Bees are a major contributor to the health and vitality of agriculture,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “This Government is pleased to support the creation of standards that will contribute to the stability of such an important industry in the agricultural community.”

Keepers of bumble bee, leafcutter and honey bee colonies will be contacted at random and asked what they do at the farm level to keep their stocks healthy. This input will assist in creating new voluntary biosecurity standards.

“The CHC is pleased to participate in this benchmarking exercise for on-farm biosecurity,” said Heather Clay, CHC chief executive officer. “This standard is important to help control the spread of bee pests and diseases.”

Biosecurity refers to activities that can be done to minimize the risk of introducing and spreading disease and pests. 

Planned for release in 2012, the new standard is intended to benefit all managed bees in Canada.

The standard is being developed in partnership between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, provincial departments of agriculture, the bee industry and academia.