Research & Projects

Alberta’s honey bees are nature’s super-pollinators, collecting nectar from our abundant crops and native plants to produce honey that’s expertly and sustainably harvested by our beekeepers. These little insects are small but mighty.

Research

ABC is committed to ensuring the health of Alberta’s honey bees and improving the sustainability of bees as pollinators in agricultural ecosystems. Research is one of our key strategic priorities and we purposefully allocate research dollars to projects with the greatest potential to positively impact Alberta’s beekeeping industry.

Our key focus areas of hive health, pollination, and ensuring Alberta honey is viewed by consumers and industry as safe, pure and healthy underpin our research priorities and continue to drive us to deliver science-based innovation and research outcomes that support Alberta beekeepers and the honey industry.

In January 2019, the ABC successfully secured a four-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) grant to create Alberta’s first Technology Transfer Program (TTP). The purpose of the TTP is to provides valuable disease diagnostics, hive monitoring/ sampling services, and education and training to beekeepers in Alberta, bridging the gap between science and its practical application.

The scope of the TTP objectives include improving bee health, managing diseases and pests, investigating bee nutrition, developing and answering research questions, and overall improving beekeeping management and reducing operating costs.

The TTP team works directly with beekeepers, provincial apiculturists and researchers, provincial and federal governments, academia and stakeholders to develop and implement an Integrated Hive Management program for beekeepers in Alberta.

To learn more about the TTP and the valuable services available to beekeepers, please visit the TTP page.

Research

Project titleObjectivesResearchersTotal Project ValueABC ContributionStatus of completionReports
Comprehensive Comparison of Therapeutic Efficacy of Fumagillin-B, Prebiotics & Probiotics against Nosema Infection of Honey Bee ColoniesTo compare therapeutic efficacy of Fumagillin B with efficacy of prebiotics and probiotics for prevention of Nosema infection in honey bees.Dr. Elemir Simko$57,500$57,500Sept 2021
A Study of Foulbrood in Canadian ApiariesFoulbrood diagnosis and sequencing.Dr. Carlos Castillo$330,000$15,000March 2021
Apiculture Research in Alberta - Bee Researcher PositionTo develop and deliver research programs that meet the needs of the beekeeping, leaf cutter bee and pollination industries in Alberta for both honey production and pollination.Dr. Shelley Hoover$1.2M
$275,000 Complete
Honey Bee Health Surveillance$1.8M$74,000Complete
Increased Sustainability Managing Bee Pest (Varroa Mites and Nosema) for Alberta BeekeepersDeveloping alternative new miticides to enhance the rotation system for sustainable control of resistant Varroa and Nosema.Dr. Shelley Hoover, Dr. Medhat Nasr, Dr. Rassol Bahreini, Dr. Rob Currie, Sam Muirhead, Dr. Tom Thompson$553,858$115,000CompleteFinal Report 1
Final Report 2
Honey Bee Stock Performance TrialTo assess the performance of commercially available honey bee stocks in Alberta, using both domestic and imported stocks, and to correlate queen traits with colony-level performance.Dr. Shelley Hoover$105,000$35,000
CompleteFinal report
Getting More Bang for Your Buzz: Does pollination compensate for canola yield lost under sub-optimal
soil moisture, nitrogen fertilization and/or seeding rates?
Does pollination compensate for canola yield lost under sub-optimal soil moisture, nitrogen fertilization and/or seeding rates?Dr. Ralph Carter, Dr, Shelley Hoover, Dr. Steve Pernal$275,000$80,000CompleteAbstract
Economic Benefits of Honey Bees in AlbertaEvaluation of the gross economic benefits of managed honey bees in Alberta in terms of both market and non-market values.Nichols Applied Management Inc.$23,000$0CompleteFinal report
A Pilot study to compare the efficacy of oxalic acid sublimation devices to control Varroa mite in AlbertaThe objective of this pilot study was to compare different models of OA vaporizers on Varroa infested colonies in late fall (November–December 2018) in Alberta. Dr. Rassol Bahreini, Cassandra Docherty, Samantha Muirhead, Olivia de Herdt, Dr. Shelley Hoover$746,000$320,500CompleteFinal report

Projects

Project titleObjectivesFunders/
Collaborators
Total Project ValueABC ContributionStatusReports
Tech Transfer Program (TTP)Improving bee health, managing diseases and pests, investigating bee nutrition, developing and answering research questions, and overall improving beekeeping management and reducing operating costs across the Alberta beekeeping industryABC, CAP$667,375$166,845February 2023TTP website
Honey Spray Drying - phase 2Develop and test a method to create a honey powder that can be used in beverages and other productsABC, AF$5,200$5,200April 2020
Improving Energy Efficiency in Alberta’s Commercial Beekeeping IndustryAssess energy efficiency and utilization, as well as determine what practical green and traditional energy options exist to improve energy efficiencies on commercial beekeeping operationsABC, CAP$139,900$17,500CompleteFinal report 1
Final report 2
Telling Our Story – The BasicsEnhancing literacy, education and awareness about beekeeping and honey in AlbertaABC, CAP$95,532$23,383CompleteHive Next Door campaign
Building Food Safety Capacity and KnowledgeDeveloping food safety tools for Alberta beekeepersABC, CAP$43,270$10,817Complete
Re-Supply of Fumagilin-B to Alberta & Strategic Plan for Development of Fumagillin AlternativesCoordinate the activities of various industry stakeholders for
reestablishing the supply of Fumagilin-B into Alberta in time for fall winterization of beehives by Alberta
beekeepers, and develop a Strategic Plan for adopting alternative treatments for nosema over the medium to long term.
ABC, GRIN$20,000$10,000CompleteFinal report
Options for New Production of Fumagillin for Apiary Use in AlbertaReview of the current supply disruption of Fumagillin-B, an antibiotic that is important for maintaining hive healthABC, MTN Consulting$12,000$12,000CompleteFinal report
Honey Authenticity Testing by NMR: A Market Impact AssessmentFeasibility study to determine and validate the benefits (financial or otherwise)
for developing a standardized program for use in Alberta (and Canada), based on NMR for establishing
product quality, traceability, and integrity
ABC, GRIN, MTN$15,000$5000CompleteFinal report
Design of a Smart Overwintering Storage Building for HoneybeesDesign an overwintering storage building concept for use in AlbertaABC, UofA$0$0CompleteFinal report
Exploring Export Market Opportunities - United Arab EmiratesGain insight and understanding into the current available
market for honey and honey-related products within the United Arab Emirates
ABC, Grant MacEwan$0$0CompleteFinal report
Design of automated honey filling machineDesign a machine for automatic taring, queuing, filling and weighing honey drumsABC, UofA$0$0CompletePoster
High Efficiency Honey Processing FacilityTo develop a temperature and humidity controlled honey processing
environment emphasizing food safety and a linearized workflow
ABC, UofA$0$0CompletePoster
Design of a Queen Bee Shipping ContainerTo design a shipping container which regulates temperature in order to maintain the viability of stored sperm in queen bees. The ideal temperature range is 30 (±5) °C, for a total transportation period of 32 hoursABC, UofA$0$0CompletePoster
Spin Float - Design of an Improved Honey/Wax SeparatorReducing air foam in honey, comfortably handling higher flow rates of honey/wax mixture, and avoiding wax build-up in the systemABC, UofA$0$0CompletePoster
Honey Tote Hydraulic TilterRecommend a suitable tote, and design a machine to aid in the draining and cleaning of a tote loaded with honeyABC, UofA$0$0CompletePoster