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Funding aims to benefit bee health in B.C.

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There is a buzz in the air as a new round of Bee BC funding opens soon to support more community projects aimed at protecting the health and habitat of bees.

“Bees play a role in the everyday life of British Columbians and a vital role in our agricultural industry,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, in a news release. “Farmers rely on bees to pollinate their crops and consumers rely on farmers to put fresh produce on their plates, so the work B.C. beekeepers do to keep our bee populations healthy is important to all citizens. By supporting these projects, we are helping future generations of bees and ensuring food security in B.C.”

Beekeepers, beekeeping associations and regional and community-based organizations can apply for funding starting Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Each project is eligible to receive up to $5,000 to fund projects enhancing bee health throughout the province.

Projects can range from providing education in communities to planting bee-specific forage to using innovation and technology to help protect and ensure bee health in B.C. The last round of projects included:

* educational programs for schools in the Kootenays and surrounding areas to teach the life cycle of the honeybee, the importance of pollination and the importance of bees and other pollinators on the larger ecosystem;

* testing the effectiveness of a seaweed extract supplement to help increase hive size and reduce disease levels among blueberry pollinator bees on the south coast; and

* mass planting nectar trees and other perennial bee flowers to help increase local nectar forage during the summer on the Gulf Islands.

A new bee-health website has also been launched as an online resource, featuring best practices and lessons learned from completed projects under the Bee BC program: http://bcbeehealth.ca/

The Bee BC program provides funding to smaller-scale, community-based projects that support the health of bees in the province. Funding provides support to research, explore, field test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health. The program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

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