Bees in Southeast Manitoba are doing much better than they were last year. 

Tim Bartel from Bartel Honey Farms in Kleefeld says that last year there were a lot of losses in the area. 

“We didn't suffer as badly as some did, but we still lost more than we would have hoped to.” 

He says the issues always seem to come from mites, starvation, and issues with queens. 

“It's many things. I suspect it was a bit of a mite problem.” 

To ensure they get a stronger crop this year, Bartel says they have built a lot of small hives. 

“We make a lot of those and put in new queens, and just try and boost up our numbers with what we have.” 

He says his family agrees that it’s a much stronger season this year. 

“My brother had just come home and said that it looks like this area probably has the best bee population of anywhere in the province, but that's really hard to say for sure.” 

Bartel explains how he knows if they are going to get a good quality crop. 

“It's a difference in flowers, and we always tell the bees where to go, but they just don't listen.”  

During this time of year, they don’t move crops to chase the flowers. 

“We put them in our spring yards which have been known to have proper pollen and floral sources.” 

They don’t do much moving during spring, and just make splits. They also haven’t started harvesting yet. 

“In a number of weeks, we'll be starting to move them out for the canola, and that's where our crop really starts coming in.” 

Bartel says there currently seems to be a bit less nectar than in past seasons, and says the heat we are getting is not helping the crop.  

He notes that if you notice bees coming into your yard, most of them won’t bother you at all. 

Bartel explains that if it’s a wet year, you won’t see much of them, but when the weather is dry, you are way more likely to see them in your kiddie pools or when you water the lawn.  

“They're there for a reason, and won't bother you for the most part. But when it's dry and your lawn is watered and you're having to walk out there, you may step on a bee or two.” 

Bartel says that for the most part, if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. 

“And when there's water and apple pollen and floral sources, they won't be in the yard at all. You'll never know they're there.” 


With files from Corny Rempel