Healthy bees, innovative producers and one super food.
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.
It’s a natural business, and a growing one. Alberta’s commercial honey producers manage 25 billion bees, representing over 300,000 colonies, to produce more than 25 million pounds of pure honey each year. In fact, Alberta is the #1 honey producer in Canada.
Alberta Beekeepers Commission supports our 172 producers, works with industry to innovate and grow, and funds research to keep our bees healthy and our industry sustainable.
That’s today. Tomorrow, the sky’s the limit.
Apis Mellifera (Western Honey Bee)
Honey bees pollinate about a third of Canadian food crops and also contribute substantially to Canada’s agricultural sector as producers of honey and other hive products (beeswax, bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly) for Canadian and international consumers.
Honey bees not only make honey, a natural and healthy sweetener; they are also essential for the production of many fruits, nuts and vegetables. Without honey bee pollination, we would live in a world with very few blueberries, apples, raspberries, cranberries, tomatoes, peppers, kiwis, pumpkins, squashes, strawberries, almonds and blackberries.
Source: Canadian Honey Council
Source: Government of Canada, Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey and Bee Industry, 2018.
Beekeeping is an important agricultural industry in Canada, producing honey and other hive products, and delivering valuable pollination services to other farmers and to non-agricultural plants.
The total number of honey bee colonies in Canada has steadily increased over the past decade, reaching a record high 796,764 in 2018. The number of beekeepers has also been increasing. In 2018, 10,629 beekeepers across Canada kept one or more honey bee colonies (or hives), a 19% increase over the average of the previous five years.
The majority of honey bee colonies are in the Prairies, where long summer days and a favourable crop mix are ideal for foraging; Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively accounted for 68% of the country’s total bee colonies and for 82% of the total honey production. Alberta contributed the most to Canada’s overall honey production (40%), followed by Saskatchewan (22%) and Manitoba (20%).
Ontario currently has the largest number of beekeepers, with 3,026 beekeepers or 28% of the national total. British Columbia and Alberta have the second and third largest number of beekeepers, with 2,676 and 1,540 beekeepers respectively.
Beekeepers produced 9.3 million pounds of honey in 2018, down 3% from 2017. Despite the decrease in production, for the second consecutive year, the total value of honey produced in Canada continued to increase, due to higher prices for honey produced in Canada in 2017 and 2018. The total estimated value of honey produced in Canada amounted to $197 million in 2018, up 3% from 2017 and 16% from 2016.
Exports of Canadian honey totaled over $78 million, up 1% from 2017. The United States is the largest export destination for Canadian honey and accounted for 80% of all honey exports in 2018. The second and third largest honey export destinations are Japan (16%) and China (2%), respectively.
Canada imported $37 million worth of honey in 2018, down 10% from 2017, which was the highest total value of imports in the previous five years. Honey from New Zealand topped the list of imported honey by value with a total import value of $12.8 million. Brazil and Thailand were the second and third largest sources of Canadian imports, valued at $4.2 million and $4.0 million, respectively. Most imports from New Zealand are valuable Manuka honey, while Brazil produces large volumes of certified organic honey, which attracts a price premium.