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Alfalfa Leaf Cutting Bee Producer Guide to the National Bee Farm-level Biosecurity Standard
Section 2: Operations Management

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2.1 Obtaining Production Inputs

Target Outcomes

Only recommended production inputs are utilized and are obtained from known and reliable sources.


Key Terms

Production inputs include consumable products:

  • treatment products (disease, parasite, and insect pest control products, including chemical treatments); and
  • cleaning and disinfection supplies.

Production inputs exclude bees (see section 1.1), and reusable bee equipment, other equipment, clothing, gloves, etc. (Refer to sections 2.3, 2.5, and 2.6).

Recommended: Advice provided by an alfalfa leafcutting bee specialist, government, or industry association to use or manage alfalfa leafcutting bees.

Known and reliable sources: Applies to acquiring production inputs from sources that are known providers of input products which are not expired (applicable to some treatment products) and are accurately labelled. Supplier lists for known and reliable sources of production inputs may be identified by industry associations or provincial apiculture programs, where applicable.

The Risks

The risk associated with using production inputs that are not recommended or obtained from known reliable sources:

Reduced Treatment Efficacy

  • Purchasing and/or using expired treatment products may reduce treatment efficacy
  • Using treatment products that are not recommended for use with alfalfa leafcutting bees may be less effective than recommended treatments, and present a legal risk to the beekeeper.

Recommended Practices

1. Domestic Sources for Production Inputs

  1. Where available, purchase from recommended suppliers or through recognized bee supply companies, as identified by a provincial industry association or provincial apiarist, where applicable.
  2. Purchase production inputs from known and trustworthy suppliers.

2. Recommended Products

  1. Only obtain treatment and sanitation products that are recommended for use with alfalfa leafcutting bees, as stated on the product label, minor use registration, or as prescribed by an alfalfa leafcutting bee specialist, provincial industry association, or provincial apicultural department, where applicable.
  2. Ensure the date on products is not expired, if applicable. Follow storage instruction if the product requires special storage conditions (e.g. temperature, light, humidity).

Record Keeping

No records are required for production inputs in alfalfa leafcutting bees.

2.2 Handling And Disposal Of Production Inputs

Target Outcomes

The degradation and contamination of production inputs is prevented by safe and secure storage and disposal.


Production inputs include consumable products:

  • treatment products (disease, parasite, and insect pest control products, including chemical treatments); and
  • cleaning and disinfection supplies.

The Risks

Biosecurity risks associated with improper handling and disposal of production inputs:

  • reduced efficacy of treatments, if treatment products are degraded or expired.

Recommended Practices

Handling and Disposing of Treatment Products:

  1. Store, if applicable, chemical treatments according to label instructions
  2. Use a first in/first out inventory management system for supplies; that is, use older inventory before newly acquired inventory.
  3. Dispose of, according to the label instructions, any expired or excess products that will not be used.

Record Keeping

No records are required for handling production inputs in alfalfa leafcutting bees.

2.3 Obtaining Bee Equipment

Target Outcomes

Bee equipment is obtained from known and reliable sources. Used equipment is accompanied by proper permits, if required, and is cleaned and disinfected or treated upon arrival as needed.


Key Terms

Bee Equipment
  • includes reusable nest material (nest blocks, nest backing, boards and strapping), as well as trays and shelters.
  • excludes production inputs (refer to section 2.1), processing equipment, tools, vehicles, and other equipment, which are addressed in section 2.7.
  • may be purchased new or used.

The following are all acceptable types of bee equipment. All will require good handling and sanitation practices for continued use in a bee operation.

Nest blocks

  1. polystyrene blocks
  2. b.wood laminates
  3. polystyrene laminates

Nest backing material

  1. bonded polyester fill
  2. landscape cloth
  3. upholsterers' cotton
  4. foam


  1. wood
  2. plastic
  3. cardboard or waxed cardboard
  4. top and/or bottom screens should be considered when replacing old trays. Screens help increase air circulation, ensuring good incubation temperatures and increasing effectiveness of chemical treatments.


  1. Generally, most shelter types are appropriate for use, including those made of plastic, tarps, wood, and metal.

Recommended: Advised by an alfalfa leafcutting bee specialist, government, or industry association for use or management of alfalfa leafcutting bees.

Known and reliable source: Applies to acquiring bee equipment from sources that are known as providers of quality products. Supplier lists for known and reliable sources of new bee equipment may be identified by industry associations or provincial apiculture programs, where applicable.

Treatment: Means disinfection by chemical, heating, or other methods to kill any living organism that could infect or infest healthy bees. Different pests require different treatments.

The Risks

The primary risk associated with introducing used bee equipment to the operation is the exposure of healthy bees to pests brought in with the used equipment. (Refer also to Bee Health, section 1.1, and 1.3). The risk is particularly high for chalkbrood; though the vegetative stage of the disease may be inactive, spores on the equipment can be viable for several years. Bee equipment reused in an operation also carries a risk of spreading pests and should be treated in a manner that removes risks before reuse.

Damaged or broken equipment also increases the vulnerability of bees to parasites and insect pests. Damaged or broken equipment includes cracked nest blocks and mouse damage. The primary control method for parasites and insect pests is using new equipment, or equipment in good repair, tightly constructed nests, and nuisance pest control (section 2.8).

Recommended Practices

1. Purchasing Bee Equipment

  1. Whenever possible, purchase new equipment from known reliable sources.
  2. Avoid purchasing bee cells in nest blocks (section 1.1)
  3. Purchase new or used equipment from reputable bee supply companies, from known and trustworthy beekeepers, and from those with established biosecurity control programs. Avoid purchasing from third parties outside of the beekeeping industry or suppliers whose status cannot be verified
  4. Investigate unfamiliar suppliers before purchasing:
    1. Visit their operations, observe (or interview by telephone), and ask questions about their disease history and management practices.
    2. Ask to see examples of their records and documentation provided.
    3. Ask for references from other customers, and follow up.
  5. Inspect and select new and used bee equipment, based on the following criteria:
    1. nest blocks with no cracks or holes
    2. trays with joints that fit snugly, no cracks, and absence of debris

2. Receiving Used Bee Equipment

  1. Avoid acquiring used equipment.
  2. If necessary, only accept used equipment if the disease history is known.
  3. Segregate purchased used equipment from other equipment, and clean and disinfect prior to use.
  4. Refer to Appendix D for detailed descriptions on disinfection treatments.

3. Regulations and Compliance for Importing Used Bee Equipment

  1. Importing used alfalfa leafcutting bee equipment is not permitted, according to the Health of Animals Regulations, part 6, section 57.

Record Keeping

Effective management systems entail that record keeping occurs on the following:

  • new and used bee equipment purchases
  • treatment records for used equipment

2.4 Management and Maintenance of Bee Equipment, Dead Bees, and Bee Products

Target Outcomes

Bee equipment is regularly inspected and, when necessary, action is taken to minimize negative impact to bee health.


Managing, cleaning, disinfecting, culling/disposal, and maintaining bee equipment in a manner that prevents or removes pests reduces biosecurity risk.

Key Terms

Bee Equipment includes reusable nest material (nest blocks, nest backing, boards and strapping), as well as trays and shelters.

Management includes handling, storage, cleaning, disinfection, and disposal.

Maintenance includes routine repair, inspection, and culling.

The Risks

Diseases can survive for years on surfaces of bee equipment, and in or on leaf cell debris and emerged bee cells. Other insect pests and parasites can survive for shorter periods in or on bee equipment. These can be transferred either directly or indirectly.

Recommended Practices

1. Routine Inspection

  1. Look for signs of cracks, damage from predators such as mice, signs of vandalism, water damage, rot, or rust.
  2. Thoroughly inspect all bee equipment for damage at least once per year:
    1. Be aware that the ideal time for inspecting nest blocks is after bee cells have been removed, and before nests are prepared for placement in the field.
    2. Identify signs of damage from rodents in the field and before nests are brought in from the field.
    3. Increase the frequency of inspection when levels of parasites and pests remain at or above a beekeeper's treatment threshold.

2. Equipment Culling and Repair

  1. Determine whether damaged equipment can be repaired or should be culled, and thus producers should consider the following:
    1. The damaged area may require removal, and if this cannot be done in such a way that it leaves a clean edge for strapping to other nest blocks and allows the nest to be run through a bee cell extraction machine, then cull the nest block.
    2. Cull, rather than repair, all damaged nest backing material.
    3. Repair or cull damaged trays.
    4. Repair or cull damaged shelters.
  2. Adopt a Nest Block and Nest Back Filler Replacement Strategy by, for example, replacing 20 percent of all nest blocks and 50 percent of nest back filler per year.

3. Cleaning and Debris Management

  1. Remove debris, such as leaf material, dust, emerged bee cells, from bee equipment before proceeding with disinfection. Though debris can be disinfected, it will cover up or hide surfaces of equipment and reduce the effectiveness of disinfection. The following techniques can be used for cleaning:
    1. scraping
    2. brushing or sweeping
    3. pressure washer
    4. compressed or forced air
  2. Ideally, have a designated cleaning area for cleaning nest blocks, trays, and other equipment. A designated cleaning area will help to segregate the risk associated with cleaning debris and waste water to one area.

4. Disposal of Equipment and Debris

  1. Keep culled materials segregated from the equipment still in use in the beekeeping operation, as well as from bee cell storage, incubation rooms, or other areas that may be exposed to healthy bee cells or bees.
    1. Dispose of culled nest blocks, nest backing material, and trays, as well as debris by burning, burying, or sending to the landfill.
    2. If sending culled equipment and debris to the landfill, ensure proper handling of garbage to avoid contact with bees, insects, or rodents.
      • Provide garbage bins at designated cleaning areas, in bee cell processing areas, equipment repair areas, or other areas where debris and damaged equipment is collected.
      • Dispose of garbage regularly, in accordance with provincial and municipal regulations.

5. Equipment Disinfection

  1. Disinfect yearly all bee equipment that is reused in a bee operation, regardless of its material.
  2. Refer to Appendix D for a description on the various disinfection treatment methods.

6. Storage

  1. Provide segregated storage for used equipment.
  2. Keep garbage storage areas clean and maintained.

Record Keeping

Effective management systems will include record keeping on

  • treatment records for equipment.

2.5 Personal Sanitation

Target Outcomes

Precautions are taken to minimize the spread of pests through human contact with bees and equipment.


Human contact with bees may be direct via bare hands, or through contact with personal protective equipment.

Section 2.7 outlines the processing equipment, vehicles, forklifts, and pallets used in a beekeeper's operation.

The Risks

As the beekeeper moves between the storage, processing, and incubation facilities, there is a risk of spreading pathogens by hands, gloves, or via equipment. Overall, this risk is considered very low; however, the risk is considered higher when handling bee cells that have already undergone treatment and prior to bees' release in the field, or during bee equipment transfer to the field. This risk is only relevant to diseases and the spread of pathogens, specifically chalkbrood. The risk of spreading parasites and insect pests in this manner is low.

Recommended Practices

In general, if a producer has low chalkbrood levels, no practices need to be implemented. However, if high chalkbrood levels persist or if a new virulent pathogen enters the bee population, then, a producer should take extra preventative measures to control the spread of pathogens.

In general, producers should recognize that a potential for spreading pathogen through human transfer exists, and that there are scenarios under which increased management may be required to reduce the risk.

1. Order of handling

  1. Ideally, people handle bees and equipment that have been cleaned and disinfected first before handling contaminated ones.

2. Hand Washing (If Gloves Are Not Worn)

  1. Wash hands after handling infected equipment or bee cells.
  2. Wash hands with water, soap, a mild bleach solution, or hand sanitizer.
  3. Dry hands with paper towels or clean towel.

3. Gloves and Clothing

  1. Wash and disinfect soiled reusable gloves before reusing to handle clean equipment or bee cells. Canvas gloves can be washed in a bleach solution. Rubber gloves can be scrubbed down with hand cleaner and a scouring pad or powder while being worn.
  2. Wash coveralls or clothing regularly in a bleach solution and/or allow drying in the sunshine. UV rays from the sun can be effective in killing pathogens.

Record Keeping

No additional record keeping for personal sanitation practices is required.

2.6 Design of Facilities

Target Outcomes

Facilities are constructed to allow for ease in cleaning, are bee-tight if needed, and are consistent with government standards if applicable. The facilities have appropriate lighting and climate control for safe storage of bees and production inputs, and enable monitoring and pest management.


The term pest refers to pathogens, parasites, and insect pests.

Facilities should be designed to exclude pests, as well as to enable segregation, inspection, monitoring, treatment, and cleaning and disinfection, if there is a risk of introducing or spreading of pests.

Well-designed facilities with adequate climate control and dust control will limit exposure of bee cells in storage, and prevent degradation of production inputs such as treatment products. Storage with cold and heat control may also be used to effectively treat equipment, and to limit the growth of pests.

Dust control is particularly important in alfalfa leafcutting bee processing, as dust can contain chalkbrood spores and can re-infect clean facilities, nest blocks, or bee cells.

Facilities include

  • nest, nest blocks, bee equipment, and bee cell storage facilities;
  • bee cell processing facilities;
  • incubation facilities;
  • nest block construction facilities;
  • storage facilities for bee production inputs, including treatment products, cleaning agents; and
  • other storage facilities.

Facilities management extends to building exteriors and loading areas.

The Risks

Section 2.7 provides a description of the biosecurity risks associated with facility surfaces. While the risk of pest transmission to healthy bees via contact with the surfaces of facilities is relatively low, there are other risks to carefully consider:

  • Bee cells in storage may be susceptible to stored product pests, parasites, rodents, lack of ventilation, and temperature.
  • Stored treatment products may be degraded by high temperatures and light exposure, reducing efficacy.
  • The effectiveness of some treatments may be impacted by temperature and ventilation. For example, the paraformaldehyde fumigation process requires temperature control, a vapour-tight facility, and ventilation.
  • The inability to physically segregate disinfected or clean areas from dirty, dusty contaminated areas presents a risk of re-infection in the operation.

Recommended Practices

1. Building Design

Ideally, the following should occur:

  1. Pave loading areas.
  2. Grade and drain roadways and pathways.
  3. Select rounded and smooth structural components such as post fittings, and lay out plumbing, electrical, and ducting pipes to limit the collection of dirt and debris (e.g. scrapings or dead bees) that are difficult to remove.
  4. Apply light-coloured finishes that aid with visual inspection and cleaning.
  5. Keep the exterior perimeter of the buildings clear of vegetation and debris.
  6. Avoid covered ledges on building exteriors where pests could nest.
  7. Ensure that filled nest blocks and bee cell storage facilities are large enough to prevent crowding, and to promote air circulation and even temperature and humidity throughout.
  8. Locate bee facilities away from other farm or domestic animals.
  9. Install effective dust control equipment in bee cell processing facilities.
  10. Have buildings well insulated to help in controlling temperature.

2. Surface Materials

Ideally, the following should be carried out:

  1. Design facilities with floors and walls that can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected:
    1. Acceptable materials include concrete, wood, drywall, metal, and plastic.
  2. Select materials that are highly resistant to water, rust, corrosion, and rot.
  3. Use light-coloured, non-toxic finishes that can withstand power washing:
    1. Avoid packed dirt floors.
    2. Be aware that painted wood is better than unpainted.
    3. Use mouldings at edges of floor to prevent buildup of material in corners.

3. Ensure Facilities Limit Access to Rodents, Birds, and Insects.

Ideally, these actions should occur:

  1. Ensure that doors are tight and have surrounding flaps to further limit entry of pests.
  2. Ensure crevices and entry points around doors, windows, and utility service inlets, air intake and fan openings can be sealed or are plugged or caulked.

4. Provide Appropriate Temperature-Controlled Facilities.

  1. Follow temperature requirements for storage and incubation. A refrigeration unit, heater, ventilation, circulating fans, and air conditioning unit may be necessary.
  2. b.Maintain filled nest block and bee cell storage facilities at 4°C–10°C.
  3. Install thermometers and humidity detectors on storage facilities and incubation facilities.
  4. Consider installing electronic monitoring and alarm systems for temperature (and humidity) controlled storage.

5. Ensure adequate Ventilation and Air circulation in Storage Facilities and Incubation

  1. Install fans, ducts, air exchange/mixing rooms, and ventilation fans to facilitate air circulation and ventilation.
  2. Install variable controls on air-handling equipment.
  3. Plan adequate ventilation in each facility for the following:
    1. incubation
    2. bee cell storage
    3. paraformaldehyde fumigation chamber
  4. Plan adequate air intake in each facility for the following:
    1. incubation
    2. paraformaldehyde fumigation chamber
  5. Require adequate ventilation in facilities used for storage of paraformaldehyde.
  6. Require sealed rooms for paraformaldehyde chambers.
  7. Stack nest blocks, bee cells, trays, and other equipment in a way that allows for good air circulation.
  8. Install back-up power systems.

6. Dust Control Should be Installed in Bee Cell Processing Facilities

  1. Examples of dust collection equipment:
    1. ducting and fans connected to a baghouse or cyclone
    2. air filtration system
    3. exhaust fans
  2. Bee cell processing rooms should be sealed off from other storage and incubation facilities.

7. Lighting

Ideally, the following should be considered:

  1. Exclude as much light as possible in the bee cell storage facilities to suppress bee, parasite, and insect pest activity.
  2. Provide adequate lighting to enable inspections and other maintenance tasks in all facilities.

8. Segregation

Segregated storage can be achieved in separate buildings, separate rooms with doors that are sealed when shut, or by using plastic curtains.

Ideally, provide segregated storage areas for

  1. receipt purchased bees and equipment.
  2. infected, infested, or suspect bee cells.
  3. bee cell processing.
  4. repairing and preparing nest blocks.
  5. incubation.
  6. filled nests and bee cell storage.

9. Cleaning and Waste Disposal

Ideally, the following should take place:

  1. Have an adequate water supply for pressure washing and a liquid disposal system.
  2. Provide leak-, insect-, and rodent-proof garbage containers.

Record Keeping

No record keeping is required for facility design.

2.7 Maintenance of Premises, Buildings, Vehicles, and Other Equipment

Target Outcome

A sanitation and maintenance program is implemented for all premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment.


Pests that survive on premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment can be directly spread to bees.

Managing, cleaning, disinfecting, and maintaining premises, buildings, vehicles, and other equipment in a manner that prevents or removes pests will reduce biosecurity risk.

Maintaining building systems (e.g. ventilation, temperature, humidity control, and lighting) help to reduce susceptibility and exposure of bee cells in storage.

The Risks

Pathogens can survive on many surfaces and in carrier substances such as leaf debris. If diseased bees or bee cells are handled by vehicles and equipment that are subsequently used to handle healthy bees, there is a risk of pathogen spread. Insect pests and parasites can usually survive on equipment, buildings, and unused bee equipment for only a short period of time, thus making the risk of spread through facilities and other equipment relatively low. A sanitation program that includes cleaning and decontamination of facilities decreases this risk further, which is most important for producers with high levels of pests in their operations.

Table 4 describes the levels of risk for site areas and surfaces.

Table 4 Site or surface levels of risk
Site or surface Risks
Bee cell processing facilities, traying area Moderate to high risk. Bee cell processing and traying creates a great deal of dust that can carry disease spores. Maintenance of dust control and continued cleaning and disinfecting are necessary practices.
Incubation facilities Moderate. Healthy bees may be exposed to parasites or to infection through direct transfer from adult bees or secondary transfer by people, or equipment. Parasite control, along with cleaning, disinfecting, and maintaining buildings can reduce this risk further.
Premises Low risk. While diseases, parasites, and pests can survive on equipment in yards, the risk of spreading these risks to bee cells is low. This would happen due to secondary transfer by people, nuisance pests, or equipment. The absence of unused equipment, control of weeds, and general maintenance of yards reduces this risk further.
Filled nest block and bee cell storage facilities Low risk. Healthy bee cells may be exposed to infection from secondary transfer by people or equipment. Rodent damage can increase bee vulnerability and exposure to parasites and pests, and other pests can feed on bee cells. Clean, disinfected, and well-maintained buildings can reduce this risk further.
General storage and other buildings Low risk. Nest material can be damaged by rodents, and treatments could be damaged in poorly maintained storage.
Transport vehicles and forklifts Low risk: Disease, parasites and pests can survive for varying lengths of time on transportation equipment surfaces. Using clean disinfected transportation and forklifts for bee cells and bee equipment in incubation, or as bees are being taken to the field for release, can reduce the risk further.

Key Terms

Designated cleaning area: A location on a premises or in a building that has been designated for cleaning activities.

Other equipment: Equipment used for moving bee cells and nest blocks, and for processing bee cells

Mechanical removal (scraping, brushing, sweeping, vacuuming, air): Sanitation procedures to remove foreign material from surfaces, using a brush, broom, hand, or other object.

Sanitation (cleaning): Any activity that physically cleans and removes foreign material from an object or surface. Forms of sanitation include mechanical removal and (power) washing and may be done in conjunction with disinfection.

Disinfection (disinfecting): The process of killing pathogenic organisms or rendering them inert (e.g. bleach, heat, or fumigation).

Recommended Practices

1. Premises Maintenance

  1. Remove any unused equipment and, where possible, any structures that could be used by pests.
  2. Level and maintain roads and yard. Maintain good water drainage.
  3. Remove weeds from around building, as they may encourage nuisance pests.

2. Sanitizing Buildings and Equipment

  1. Thoroughly clean the filled nest block and bee cell storage, and bee cell processing and incubation facilities once per year before new production comes back from the field in the late summer. Remove debris, sweep floors where possible, and power wash floors, walls, and ceilings that can be cleaned.
  2. If handling known infected equipment during incubation or spring release, clean forklifts, transportation vehicles, and other equipment before handling clean bee cells and bee equipment.
  3. Clean the bee cell processing area daily to remove dust by vacuuming, air, or sweeping. The dust is removed from the building and is disposed of by taking to a landfill or burying it.

3. Disinfecting Building and Equipment

  1. If vehicles, equipment, or buildings have been used to handle bee cells or bee equipment infected with disease, or if chalkbrood levels remain at or above thresholds established by a beekeeper, use the following techniques for disinfection:
    1. First assure the surfaces of the building, vehicles, and equipment have been cleaned to remove dust, dirt, and debris.
    2. Disinfect with products such as bleach, or treat with paraformaldehyde (incubation room and equipment)

4. Building Maintenance

  1. To ensure that buildings are kept in optimal condition, beekeepers should
    1. annually check buildings to ensure that openings to rodents and other nuisance pests are sealed.
    2. monitor any storage and incubation facilities daily to ensure that heating, cooling, humidity, air circulation, and ventilation systems are functioning properly to maintain adequate air quality, including temperature and moisture. Use the following techniques to monitor these conditions:
      • Install and tie thermostats and humidity detectors to an alarm system.
      • Provide physical monitoring of the facilities at regular intervals.

5. Maintenance of a Designated Cleaning Area for Vehicles and Equipment

  1. Vehicles and portable equipment are cleaned at designated cleaning areas and waste water is handled appropriately:
    1. Drainage of waste water is contained or diverted away from where bees are kept. If possible, the designated cleaning area should be power washed after cleaning infected equipment and vehicles.

Record Keeping

Effective management systems include record keeping on the following:

  • cleaning and sanitation notes
  • treatment records for equipment and building
  • premises, building, and equipment maintenance notes

2.8 Control Of Weeds and Nuisance Pests

Target Outcomes

An integrated management program for weeds and nuisance pests is implemented.


Key Terms

Weeds: Unwanted vegetation, including cultivated and volunteer crops, growing in and around the shelters or buildings.

Nuisance pests: Rodents such as mice and voles, skunks and raccoons, as well as some birds.

The Risks

Weeds growing in and around shelters and buildings can

  • provide nesting sites for nuisance pests.
  • hold moisture that can promote pathogens such as chalkbrood that thrive in high humidity conditions, and reduce the heat in shelters affecting bee foraging and health.
  • obstruct the beekeeper from performing routine inspections and managing the bees.

A nuisance pest may

  • consume bees and bee cells,
  • disturb bees,
  • damage bee equipment, and
  • make nests.

Recommended Practices

1. Monitoring

With each visit to a shelter, monitor for weed growth, the presence of nuisance pests, and visual signs of infestation and disturbance such as

  1. damage to or theft of bee equipment, and
  2. the presence of weeds in the shelter and the growth of weeds and crop in front of shelters.

2. General Control

  1. Keep shelters and surrounding area free of unused and broken equipment, garbage, and other attractants.
  2. Be aware that many nuisance pests can be deterred by dogs or solar- or battery-powered motion-activated devices that set off flashing lights or a loud noise.

3. Weed Control

  1. Mow a strip in front of shelter – though take care to avoid disturbing bees.
  2. Use a weed eater or pull weeds inside the shelter.
  3. If using herbicides, such as glyphosate, apply products safely for use around shelters, avoid application when bees are flying or when weeds are in bloom, and follow product labels.
  4. Keep entrances and the perimeters of facilities clear of weeds and vegetation that could provide nesting sites for nuisance pests.

4. Rodent Control

For control of rodents in buildings or shelters

  1. Set traps.
  2. Use recommended rodent poison.
  3. Complete regular building maintenance, and close, cover, or fix rodent entrances.
  4. Use cats or dogs, or other pets in buildings.
  5. Set up a sonic device.
  6. Routinely monitor baits, traps, and poison, and replace baits and poison as needed.

5. Bird Control

  1. Remove any nests from shelters or buildings.

6. Vandalism and Theft

  1. Monitor for signs of vandalism and repair or replace equipment when it occurs.
  2. Notify the police if the problem persists.

Record Keeping

Effective management systems will include record keeping on the following:

  • nuisance pest control notes

2.9 Training and Education

Target Outcomes

All those working in a beekeeping operation or utilizing bees are trained and regularly updated on biosecurity risks and protocols.


Key Terms

Staff: All those who work in the beekeeping operation, including the owner/senior beekeeper, family members, and hired employees.

A Biosecurity Training Plan is in place, resource material is sourced or developed, and training and updates are delivered to staff to address the purpose, principles, and processes associated with alfalfa leafcutting bee biosecurity.

Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are developed for the beekeeping operation. These are written (and illustrated), using step-by-step explanations on how to perform a task from beginning to end.

The Risks

  • exposure to and/or spread of diseases, and insect pests, and parasites to healthy bees;
  • missed or delayed diagnosis and treatment of a disease, insect pest, or parasite, resulting in economic loss;
  • incorrect diagnosis of a disease, insect pest, or parasite, resulting in unnecessary treatment;
  • errors in administering treatments that could reduce efficacy of treatment, or otherwise negatively impact bee health; and
  • risks to employee health and safety when administering treatments to address biosecurity risks.

Recommended Practices

It is recommended that beekeepers supplement their own knowledge and/or staff training program by

  • joining their provincial beekeeping association
  • accessing resources available through
    • the provincial industry association
    • their provincial government (where applicable)
    • an alfalfa leafcutting bee specialist

1. Standard Operating Procedures

SOPs are developed and reviewed at least annually for the following processes:

  1. monitoring and reporting (monitoring methods, and standard and elevated frequency and sampling percentage);
  2. quarantine protocol;
  3. prevention methods;
  4. treatment administration;
  5. record keeping; and
  6. other SOPs, as identified by the beekeeper.

2. Depth, Scope, and Content of Training

The depth and scope of biosecurity training should be appropriate to the job scope of the employee, family member, or senior beekeeper; however, all working within the operation should have a good general understanding of the purpose, principles, and processes of biosecurity.

Biosecurity training should include knowledge of

  1. biosecurity principles, risks, and why biosecurity is important to the operation and the Canadian industry; and
  2. an understanding of
    1. common, new, and exotic biosecurity risks and their life cycles,
    2. vectors or risk entry points to the operation,
    3. relationship to bee lifecycle,
    4. storage conditions and other factors that promote or impede spread of the risk, and
    5. potential impact on bees and bee production.
  3. monitoring and sampling procedures. The senior beekeeper should be trained in advance and know when the implementation of standard and elevated response plans should be triggered. All staff involved in bee cell processing and receiving bee cells should be familiar with proper sampling protocol and lot creation procedures.
  4. recommended practices to prevent the spread of diseases, insect pests, or parasites while performing regular duties:
    1. storage, stacking, and handling of nests and bee cells,
    2. bee cell processing,
    3. incubation practices, and
    4. cultural controls.
  5. treatment application methods:
    1. how to understand and interpret product label instructions
    2. accessing and following current industry treatment recommendations
    3. worker safety when handling and applying treatments
  6. current regulations such as governing registration, bee cell purchase, sale and treatments
  7. key contacts
  8. record-keeping requirements within the operation.
    1. system creating and recording lots, etc.

3. Timing and Frequency of Training

Staff are

  1. trained for the jobs or tasks they will be doing.
  2. given an annual update or refresher on biosecurity at the start of each season.
  3. given updates as needed throughout the operating season.

4. Training Methods

Examples of training include the following:

  1. in-house staff orientation training sessions or meetings;
  2. on-the job training by working under direct supervision;
  3. self-study; and
  4. attending demonstrations, seminars, or workshops offered by the provincial government, industry associations, private organizations.

5. Support Materials

To improve comprehension,

  1. training and support materials are illustrated, well-organized, and written in simple (non-scientific) language.
  2. training and support materials are translated, as applicable.

Examples of support materials for use in training:

  1. Bee Biosecurity Standard and this Producer Guide
  2. written SOPs
  3. videos
  4. demonstrations
  5. photos and illustrations
  6. f.posters
  7. examples with notes (e.g. product labels and report forms)
  8. memo postings and emails
  9. workbooks or self-assessment checklists (paper or electronic)
  10. bulletins, newsletters, treatment recommendations, etc. (paper and online)

Record Keeping

Ideally, a record of training is kept for each worker.

Examples of records:

  • title and/or certificate of attendance for seminars, workshops, courses attended;
  • individual training records, detailing training given and dates; and
  • a signed confirmation from each staff member that SOPs have been read and understood.
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