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Syngenta supports Maritime bee research

February 4, 2014  By Press release

February 4, 2014 – Syngenta Canada Inc. and Dalhousie University, together with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, are partnering on an innovative research project to increase bee populations and blueberry yields in the Maritime provinces.

Canada is the world’s largest producer of wild blueberries and most are grown in Quebec and in the Atlantic provinces. They are important economically and are part of our cultural identity.

“An increase in the demand for blueberries has resulted in the expansion of blueberry operations. Bee populations have not, however, increased in tandem,” says Dr. Paul Hoekstra, stewardship manager with Syngenta Canada Inc.


Bees and blueberries are an important combination and over the past two years declines in blueberry yields have caused concerns.

“An inadequate supply of bees required to pollinate a healthy blueberry crop has been identified as an important problem,” says Dr. Chris Cutler, associate professor, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture. “This research project hopes to address a couple of the factors that may be part of the problem – nesting habitat limitations and a lack of food resources.”

The research will involve planting of bee-attractive forage plants and creation of bee nesting sites. Impacts of these habitat amendments on bee populations and blueberry pollination will be analyzed over two years.

“We’re planting annual buckwheat, which is particularly attractive to bees, along the edge of blueberry fields,” explains researcher Robyn McCallum. “We’re also examining the use of nesting blocks that can be used by certain cavity nesting bees, and how nesting block design, placement, and management affects the number of bees in a field and, as a result, pollination rates.”

Originally from Tabusintac, New Brunswick, the Dalhousie Master of Science student is hopeful that the blueberry sector will benefit from her research.

“We think the research will demonstrate the benefits of these practical methods to boost native bee populations.”

Syngenta Canada is supporting the research through their Operation Pollinator program. The program includes support for research and other initiatives that contribute to enhanced biodiversity and habitat in support of healthy pollinator populations.


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