Niagara College launches unique beekeeping program to help farmers pollinate crops

Niagara College

from Niagara College’s Community News Source:

Niagara College’s Commercial Beekeeping program is the first of its kind in Eastern Canada.

Following the annual lifecycle of the honey bee from its winter sleep patterns to the extraction of honey and back again.

Al Unwin, associate dean of the School of Environmental and Horticulture Studies, says roughly 25 to 30 students will receive the opportunity to begin their studies at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus come January 2017.

“There is a big need right now for highly trained pollinators,” says Unwin.

“Stats Canada estimates that there will be a need for over 5,800 commercial beekeepers by 2023. Right now, there are a little over 2,000.”

That means in Canada alone more than 3,800 beekeepers are going to be needed within the next seven years.

With the growing global demand for beekeepers and managed pollinators driving Niagara College’s new program, there are numerous job opportunities becoming available to graduates.

An apiary manager or technician, owner or operators for commercial beekeeping and pollination services are only a few of the options graduates will have to choose from with the skills they learn from the program.

“While Niagara College will be harvesting their own honey, the real reason for the hives is to be able to rent them out to local farmers who need help pollinating their crops,” says Unwin. “All the bees have been brought from or have been bred at one of three local suppliers in the area. We wanted to make sure the bees were able to properly adapt.”

The Commercial Beekeeping program has been in the works for four years and the college has been working closely with the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, which represents close to 80 per cent of Ontario beekeepers.

Read the full article here.