NowNS: Joint bid to get bees busy will boost blueberry businesses

A $355,000 public-private partnership is aiming to strengthen honey bee populations — and boost blueberry growers — across Atlantic Canada.

Working out of Crown-owned research agency Perennia in Bible Hill, the Atlantic Tech Transfer Team for Apiculture will review Canada’s current honeybee management practices and customize them for this region’s bee and blueberry businesses, agency spokesperson Lynne Godlien told the Chronicle Herald.

A joint venture between the feds, all three Maritime provinces and a small number of berry processors, the project will help beekeepers improve hive health while also optimizing pollination for blueberry growers, Godlien said.

Blueberry expert Peter Burgess will lead the two-year project that will see apiculturists Cameron Menzies and Robyn McCallum work with an industry-led committee to focus on best-practices for better over-wintering, nutrition and prevention of pests and disease.

Nova Scotia blueberries need pollinating in late May and early June — a time when bees are as likely …