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Getting the buzz on bee farming

Apart from making delicious honey, bees also play a vital role in pollinating many Canadian crops that make up much of what we eat and wear.

Bees are a pretty big deal.

Apart from making delicious honey, bees also play a vital role in pollinating many Canadian crops that make up much of what we eat and wear.

“If bees don’t pollinate things, they don’t produce,” said Franz Klingender, curator of agriculture at Canada Agriculture Museum. “If bees don’t pollinate things like apple or pear trees, we don’t get apple or pears. It’s as simple as that.”

On Sunday, the museum will open an exhibit, called Taking Care of Beesness, explaining how bees contribute to food production in Canada. The exhibit even features a live hive that allows people to observe bees in action.

Despite their vital role in helping to pollinate crops and make honey, there are no wild bee colonies in Canada. All that work is done be kept bees.

They are our smallest domesticated animal, said Kerry-Leigh Burchill, the director general of the Canada Agriculture Museum. Many beekeepers make extra money renting their bees out to farmers to help pollinate their crops, said Burchill.

There were bees here before European settlers brought their own to Canada, but wild bees were killed off by disease, pesticides and cold weather, said Klingender.

 
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