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    Beekeepers in Canada are preparing to open their hives for spring but are seeing high mortality rates in their hives. Some bee farms in Alberta are finding more than 50 per cent of their bees dead. The Manitoba Beekeeping Association is also reporting that some beekeepers are finding losses up to 90 per cent of their bees. 

    Laval University bee scientist Pierre Giovenazzo said “the bees are in confinement from October-November until April, … It’s tough for them. Overwintering mortality in Canada is often around 20 per cent to 30 per cent, normally. In good years, we might be at 18 per cent.” The Alberta Beekeepers Commission said over winter the average loss of bees in 26.2 per cent since 2007.

    Renata Borba, a tech transfer lead at the Alberta Beekeepers Commission said “It’s a very serious threat. It’s a parasite that has been with beekeepers for many, many years. So, it’s not a new parasite, … Varroa mites can carry diseases that can spread within a colony. That also adds to the stress of the colony and the immune system,”

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