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Bumblebee Sector Guide To The National Bee Farm-level Biosecurity Standard
Section 1: Health Management

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1.1 Bumblebee Sources

Target Outcomes

Exposure to pests is minimized by introducing bee stocks of known health status. Sources are documented to enable traceability.


Each form and source of bees represents varying degrees of risk for the introduction of pests.

While bumblebee colonies can be generated by a single queen collected from nature, this document is based on the assumption that the grower is using a commercially available hive box purchased from commercial suppliers.

The grower commonly acquires the bees by purchasing an appropriate number of boxed hives for placement and use in the greenhouse. Most bumblebees in Canada are sourced from commercial suppliers of bumblebees, or from one of their distributors. Generally, the grower takes on all beekeeper responsibilities and self-manages the hives, assuming responsibility for disposal at the end of use. However, in some instances the supplier or one of its distributors assumes some responsibilities, including monitoring and occasionally disposal.

Commercial bumblebee colonies are generally housed within two plastic containers inside corrugated cardboard boxes for ease of storage, shipment, and functionality. One container is a hive and the other is feed (generally sugar water) to maintain the bumblebees during transport and, in some cases, during periods when there are insufficient carbohydrate sources from their foraging and pollination activities. These boxes are used for several weeks (6 to 8 weeks) for the pollination of crops, most often inside greenhouses and occasionally outdoors in berry production, and are usually destroyed or disposed of after use.

Recommended Practices

These practices refer to the purchase and introduction of bees from purchased sources.

1. Supplier Selection

  1. Purchase bees through recognized bee supply companies, as identified by a PA, or other industry association.
  2. Inspect and have the supplier certified regularly by the appropriate government authorities.

2. Regulations and Compliance (see Appendix B)

  1. Growers are familiar with and follow current federal regulations and protocols administered by the CFIA, Plant Products Directorate, Plant Health Division, Export/Import Section, under the Health of Animals Act, which also governs the importation of pollinators. (Refer to Appendix B.)
  2. Growers are familiar with and follow current provincial import and transport regulations, as defined by the applicable bee, livestock health, animal health, or Apiary (Inspection) Act and Regulations.

3. Receiving and Placing Bees

  1. Ensure that boxes are placed to reduce disturbance and nutritional deficiency. (Refer to section 1.2.)
  2. Position entrances to the east or southeast for exposure to morning sun.
  3. If required, follow recommended stocking ratios.
  4. Provide visual cues such as banners or flags, or in field situations, place nest boxes near landscape features to assist bees with orientation.
  5. For field placement of hives,
    1. elevate nest boxes off the ground, using pallets or stands to improve air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.
    2. eliminate the potential of temperature extremes by placing hives out of heavy shaded areas (e.g. thickets of trees) or in warmer conditions, providing shade through tents or tarps.

4. Inspection and Assessment

  1. Bees are inspected by suppliers before shipping.
  2. Prior to introduction or hive placement, each bee lot is inspected for
    1. dead bees,
    2. bee activity, and
    3. visual inspection for indicators of any diseases or parasites.
  3. If a biosecurity risk is suspected, then suppliers, PAs, industry organizations, or others that are aware of current developments, alerts, and emergency protocols should be contacted.
  4. If a biosecurity risk is suspected, the grower should alert the bumblebee supplier. The supplier or its distributor will administer tests and detection methods and/or collect and send samples of bees to a provincial lab for analysis. Bees are held in segregated isolation (closed hive in storage or isolated location) until diagnosis is confirmed.

5. Sanitation

  1. When required, introduce bees only to new or disinfected hive equipment. (Also, refer to section 2.3.)
  2. Take precautions to minimize the risk of spread of (potential) introduced pest through handling (e.g. gloves) and tools.
  3. Avoid reusing packing material, and destroy by holding in a segregated area until transfer to a site where it will be disposed of in the same fashion as an expended hive (burning or burial).
  4. Disinfect vehicles and equipment that held or handled bees that were confirmed or suspected of harbouring pests prior to reuse.
  5. Properly dispose of hive boxes, including remaining and dead bees (section 2.4), following the pollination period, or return to supplier.

Record Keeping

Clearly identify purchases on receipt by lot number(s), recording the following information for each hive box:

  • date received;
  • name, address, and telephone number of supplier;
  • number of bees;
  • hive identifiers, if available;
  • date of inspection by originating authority;
  • selling permit number, if applicable;
  • disease status according to heath inspection certificate or supplier declaration, if known; and
  • treatments given prior to shipment, if known.

Retain records for a sufficient period of time to enable effective and efficient traceback.

1.2 Prevention: Minimizing Susceptibility To Pests

Target Outcomes

Factors are managed to reduce the bees' susceptibility to pests. A response is implemented when threshold levels are reached.


Bee health may be compromised by a number of factors that can effectively be managed within the beekeeping operation. If a colony is weakened, the bees will be more vulnerable to infection or infestation, as well as being less productive as pollinators.

Factors that may contribute to bee susceptibility to pests include weather, nutrition, disturbance, and pesticide exposure.

Weather and environment: Protect bees from the impact of temperature extremes, high humidity, and moisture buildup, both within and outside the hive. If bumblebee hives are placed in the field, wind can also be an issue. Methods of climate control include varying elevation of the hive box and directional orientation, use of protective covers or shelters, placement in partial or full shade, removal of weeds and debris that can harbour moisture from around the hive, and the design of the hive box itself.

Nutrition: Bees must have access to adequate sources of carbohydrates, protein, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Feed sources include nectar and feed supplements. Supplemental feeding may become necessary in some situations for bee health, especially if inclement weather prevents or reduces foraging in field placements. Ensure that feed levels are adequate in hives at the time of receipt.

Disturbance: Bees are affected by movement (transportation to, or relocation from, initial location), handling during inspections, or feed placement. Susceptibility to pests may increase if bees are confined for long periods, and when high temperature, humidity, and C02 buildup occurs. Recurring nearby activities that are loud or that create vibrations, such as the use of power equipment, may also cause disturbance-induced susceptibility. Non-human sources of disturbance (particularly if placing bumblebees in the field) include nuisance pests, such as predatory wasps, moths, mice, skunks, bears, and cattle.

Pesticide exposure: Bees may be affected by direct exposure to pesticide applications, particularly insecticide sprays or spray drift that is absorbed through the body or respiratory system, or by ingestion. Some herbicides, desiccants, and plant growth regulators are also known to be toxic to bees, whereas fungicides are generally considered safe. Bees may be affected by the buildup of pesticides within food stores through the collection of nectar and pollen that have been exposed to applications. The degree of toxicity to bees is impacted by such factors as the chemical product group, formulation, application rate, and temperature conditions. Bees may be killed outright or show symptoms of poisoning that subsequently weaken the colony, making it potentially more susceptible to other diseases and parasites.

Recommended Practices

1. Environmental Susceptibility Factors

a. The negative effects of wind, temperature, and moisture can be mitigated by hive box set-up, shelter, hive design and management, and temperature and humidity control.

  1. Avoid crowding – provide more space if required.
  2. Orient hive entrances to the east or southeast for exposure to morning sun.
  3. Keep the temperature of the hive below 32°C to minimize impact on the bees.
  4. Place hive boxes in partial or full shade (not with full sun exposure).
  5. Consider, if necessary, providing extra shade with a piece of Styrofoam or other material that does not radiate heat.
  6. Greenhouse use:
    1. Place the hive along the south side of greenhouse paths to maximize the shade from crop in the summer.
    2. If the building's environment includes carbon dioxide enriched areas, take care when placing the hive, because high CO2 levels may negatively affect bumblebee health.
    3. Select greenhouse coverings carefully to maintain bee activity levels. Natural light conditions and ultra violet (UV) levels play a role in maintaining healthy bumblebee foraging levels. Wherever possible, consider greenhouse coverings that transmit high levels of ultraviolet light.
  7. Field use:
    1. Elevate nest boxes off the ground, using pallets or stands to improve air circulation and to prevent moisture buildup.
    2. Eliminate the potential of temperature extremes by placing hives out of heavy shaded areas (e.g. thickets of trees) or in warmer conditions, providing shade through tents or tarps.

2. Nutritional Susceptibility Factors

  1. For healthy bees, ensure access to a good quality carbohydrate source (generally sugar water or other nectar replacement).
  2. Most commercial hives are delivered with the necessary feed for an entire pollination period. In those cases, follow the instructions provided with the hive, but also monitor and provide supplemental feed, as required:
    1. Provide to bees during shipment and at time of introduction.
    2. Keep supplemental nectar available in the hive, even during the foraging period, particularly during inclement weather or periods of reduced UV light, when bees may forage less.
    3. Consider the potential need for additional supplements.
  3. Place commercial bumblebee hive boxes on a horizontal platform to prevent leakage of the sugar water. If the commercial supplier provides customized brackets or supports with the box, use the supports as instructed.
  4. Be aware that granulated white sugar or high fructose corn syrup dissolved in water is the recommended nectar supplement for bumblebees. Feeding honey or other bee products back to bees presents a risk of disease transmission.
  5. Contain the supplemental feed products within the hive, where they are not exposed to robbing by other insects. This will lower the possibility of disease transmission.

3. Disturbance

  1. The effects of disturbance cannot be completely avoided but can be minimized, using common sense handling and management.
  2. Handling and transport
    1. Always handle bees and bee equipment with a gentle approach.
    2. Minimize the time that hive boxes are open or unwrapped during inspection, treatment, or feeding.
    3. Manage temperature, humidity, and air circulation to prevent buildup while in transit.
    4. Move at night whenever possible.
    5. Ensure that hives are sufficiently sealed to prevent escapes, including putting a screen around the hive boxes.
    6. Whenever possible, use enclosed vehicles for bumblebee transport.
    7. Stabilize the hives during movement and transit (e.g. through hive design to facilitate stable stacking, use of tie downs in the truck).
    8. Avoid moving hive boxes once installed, even within the greenhouse, unless there are operational reasons why the movement of the box is required.
    9. Wait one to two hours once a hive box is installed (for fields and greenhouses) before first opening the box for foraging.
  3. Disturbance caused by noise, vibration, and jostling should be minimized through the careful selection of the hive site prior to installation. The site should be protected from nearby exposure to sources of mechanical disruption by accidental bumping by personnel or animals.

4. Pesticide Exposure Susceptibility Factors

  1. For bumblebee hives placed in greenhouses, take special precautions to avoid direct pesticide contact:
    1. Outfit the hive with a second entrance tube, with a one-way valve to let bees into the box but not out again. By closing the two-way entrance tube, it is possible to lock the bees into the box after their foraging activity.
    2. Close hives on the night before any pesticide application, and then open again the day after application or later, depending on recommendations for the specific pesticide product. Since pesticide labels may provide incomplete information for bumblebees; a pesticide dealer should be consulted regarding withdrawal periods, as some pesticides have residual activity and may require that the hives remain closed for a period of days after application. In addition, bumblebee suppliers can provide useful information on the side effects of pesticides on bumblebees.
  2. Mark the hives, and monitor the bees for the following, if exposure is suspected:
    1. large numbers of dead bees at the hive entrance.
    2. dwindling adult population.
    3. paralyzed, stupefied, unable to walk or fly properly.
    4. nectar regurgitation/wet looking.
    5. swollen abdomen.
    6. confused or aggressive behaviour.

5. Additional Requirements for Field Placement

In addition to the recommended practices above for greenhouse placements, the following practices are recommended if placing bumblebee hives in field locations.

  1. Minimize the impact of weather and the environment in the field:
    1. Choose hive locations that are not prone to flooding.
    2. Elevate hive off the ground to improve air circulation and to prevent moisture buildup.
    3. Provide wind shelter for hives.
    4. Orient entrances away from the prevailing winds.
    5. Insulate any hives placed outdoors.
    6. Keep entrances clear of vegetation.
    7. Take remedial action for excess moisture, ice, or mold observed on the inside of the hive box, or at its entrances.
  2. Take precautions to avoid direct pesticide exposure in fields through contact with pesticide residue on plant or in water:
    1. Choose hive placements away from intensely sprayed areas.
    2. Avoid or use extreme caution when applying any pesticide around hives.
    3. Have access to annual provincial insecticide and herbicide recommendations for common pests in the area of the hives, and reference which products and formulations are harmful to bees and for how long after application.
    4. Maintain regular communication with local farmers and landowners.
    5. Monitor spray programs in the areas where your hives are placed.
    6. Clearly post your name, address, and telephone number at each field location where bees are kept to allow local farmers or pesticide applicators to easily contact you.
    7. Monitor weather conditions when pesticide spraying occurs, taking extra precautions to protect bees (e.g. from spray drift if windy conditions, or if cool weather is expected following application, because residues will remain toxic to bees for longer periods in cool weather).
  3. Listed below are the critical aspects of pesticide application that could be addressed in discussions between the grower and the farmer and/or pesticide applicator:
    1. spraying at night time, late evening, or (less desirable) early morning;
    2. identifying buffer zones around the grower's hives to avoid spraying;
    3. using products, formulations, or cultural methods that are less harmful to bees for possible use, if there is an option;
    4. avoiding application on crops or weeds when in bloom (this is regulated for some crops);
    5. using ground versus aerial spraying;
    6. prior to spraying with insecticides, controlling flowering cover crops, such as clover or weeds (e.g. by mowing), which are subject to bee foraging; and
    7. protecting bumblebees by moving to a protected location during application and holding them there until safe to return to the crop. Bees may also be confined to the hive for a day or more, using a one-way entrance to minimize contact with the pesticide, but care must be taken to avoid overheating.
  4. If pesticide poisoning is suspected or confirmed, collect and freeze samples, record information, report to the provincial authorities, and consider methods such as litigation to recover losses. If misuse of a pesticide that resulted in pesticide kills is suspected, the following information should be recorded. Examples of misuse include applying during the day if the label states application at night, an unregistered use, or application without a permit:
    1. date and time of the pesticide spray;
    2. weather conditions at the time of spraying and two days before and after;
    3. pest target;
    4. crop;
    5. pesticide, its formulation, and rate of application, if known;
    6. hive location relative to the field sprayed (distance); and
    7. name and contact information of the applicator, if known.

Record Keeping

Record-keeping recommendations focus on information that may flag the potential for negative impact on bee health so that appropriate remedial action can be taken. This information can also rule out causes that would otherwise trigger ineffective and costly responses. Records should be kept a sufficient period of time to enable effective and efficient traceback.

Observations about levels of pollination activity should be recorded as an indicator of colony health.

Supplemental feed:

  • type and source of feed
  • date placed and removed (if applicable)

Hive Placement:

  • date placed
  • location
  • crop
  • observed alternate sources for foraging
  • stocking rate
  • distance from nearest hives and beekeeper contact information
  • weather observations with extremes recorded

Disturbance Observations:

  • date, cause, and observed result of disturbance

1.3 Prevention: Minimizing Exposure

Target Outcomes

Direct and indirect contact with infected or infested bees is minimized.


Direct contact refers to bee-to-bee contact; an infected or infested bee passes the pathogen or parasite directly to a healthy bee or brood.

Indirect contact occurs when an infected or infested host bee leaves behind a pathogen or parasite on some surface or in some material such as feed or feces, providing that the pathogen or parasite survives long enough to be picked up by another bee.

The first line of defence against infection or infestation of healthy bees is to minimize exposure to pests. This includes direct contact between bees either through intended bee introductions to healthy colonies or unintended intermixing, as well as indirect contact through contaminated equipment, feed, handling, and hive boxes. For some diseases, it is unnecessary for an individual bee to come into actual contact with an infected individual to become infected.

Commercial bumblebees are most commonly used for pollination of tomatoes and other crops within greenhouses. Keeping bumble bees inside the greenhouse is desirable for pollination productivity reasons.

Risks and recommended practices that address minimizing exposure through indirect contact are discussed in Section 2: Operations Management.

Recommended Practices

1. Consider hive box placement

  1. More intense management is required in areas of intensive custom pollination or where bees from more than one location (your own or another grower's) can intermix in local foraging areas:
    1. Be aware of the health status and pest management practices of others who may have bumblebees, honey bees, or alfalfa leafcutting bees proximate to your own operation.
    2. When possible, place bumblebee hives in locations away from greenhouse entrances.
    3. Follow pollination stocking rate recommendations.
    4. Maximize the distance between hives when multiple hives are placed within one section of a greenhouse.

2. Minimize bees flying away during transport and exposing to other bees

  1. Suppliers and distributors should transport bees in enclosed vehicles.
  2. Suppliers should pack hives in escape-proof over-boxes with mesh in the ventilation openings.
  3. Queen excluders should be used if bumblebees are being shipped to an area of Canada where Bombus impatiens is not native.
  4. Mixing hives from more than one source in one load when transporting should be avoided.

3. Restrict movement

  1. To prevent direct and indirect contacts with bees from other hives, as well as native bees outside the greenhouse:
    1. Wait one to two hours once a hive box is installed in a greenhouse before first opening the box for foraging. The flight hole should still be opened on the day it arrives, preferably during the brightest time of the day.
    2. If possible, ensure doors and other entrances to the greenhouse are designed to reduce the possibility of escape of bumblebees from the greenhouse, as well as to the entrance of other bees from outside.
  2. Special practices outside Bombus impatiens native range:
    1. In any areas outside of the native range of Bombus impatiens, observe special management practices to minimize the potential for exposure to any introduced pests.
    2. Place hives in field locations.
    3. Install queen excluders on all hive boxes for transport, keeping in place for the duration of the production cycle.

4. Additional Requirements for Field Placement

  1. In addition to the recommended practices above for greenhouse placements, the following practices are recommended if placing bumblebee hives in field locations:
    1. If your neighbours' status is suspect or conditions exist that encourage intermixing in some way:
      • Decline to place your hives, or remove them.
      • Increase placement distances.
      • Step up monitoring frequency and sampling.
    2. Hives should be placed in the direct vicinity of a tall object such as a tree to enhance the bees' ability to return to their hive and therefore reduce commingling with other native and kept colonies.
    3. If the hive has been brought into an area where the species is not native, it is particularly important that a queen excluder be installed in the entrance to the hive.

Record Keeping

The purpose of record keeping in minimizing exposure to pests is to facilitate traceback to the source of the exposure and to identify how subsequent exposures may have occurred, enabling quick action to avoid further spread.

It is recommended that the following records be maintained:

  • Mark all hives with a unique hive identifier and equipment with unique identifiers, where appropriate.
  • Track the location of all colonies, whether in a greenhouse or in the field.
  • For field placement, map the location of all colonies.
  • Record the name and address of other hives transported with or placed in proximity to yours.
  • Maintain records of pest presence for individual colonies, by hive and for the entire operation.
  • Record management actions and dates that could represent potential sources of exposure:
    • feed source
    • introduction of used hive equipment and supplies
    • source of purchased bees and installation date
  • In addition, suspected and confirmed reports or official alerts of outbreaks of pests that are uncommon to the local area should be recorded at the hive level. These records would be used to trigger more intensive monitoring in high-risk areas.

1.4 Diagnoses And Monitoring

Target Outcomes

Pests and their signs are accurately diagnosed. Bee operations are monitored to assess the risk of pests.


The following is a list of the main pests that are of concern to the commercial bumblebee rearing sector, bumblebee distributors, and maintenance service providers, greenhouse operators and the scientific research community. Appendix C provides additional details on these pests.

  • nosema (Nosema bombi)
  • crithidia (Crithidia bombi)
  • tracheal mites (Locustacarus buchneri)
  • brood parisitoids (Mellitobia wasps)
  • small hive beetle
  • wax moth
  • honey bee pests (chalkbrood and viruses)

In most cases, bumblebee hive monitoring consists of weekly visits by a scout to determine the level of bumblebee pollination activity and hive health. In many cases, the greenhouse growers rely on the services of the bumblebee suppliers or distributors to provide this monitoring service and to maintain colony health or cull sick or infested hives.

Generally, fruit and vegetable growers will not be opening hive boxes after placement, so monitoring would entail observation of signs outside the hive. In most instances, the scouts will be observing markings on the plants, indicating foraging and pollination activity, as an indicator of the health of hives. They will also primarily be on guard for the presence of Mellitobia and other pests.

Monitoring is one of the cornerstones of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (with direct application to biosecurity) and has three key purposes:

  1. Monitoring to trigger an investigation into the cause, and rule out causes other than infestation or infection before response
    1. unexpected declines in foraging and pollination activity that may signal a bee health issue.
    2. visual observations of presence of dead bees:
      1. dead larvae
      2. dead bees in hive
      3. dead bees at other locations
    3. Visual observations of abnormal bee behaviour:
      1. feeding behaviour; and
      2. bees not flying, lethargic, disoriented, crawling, twitching, and/or trembling.
  2. Monitoring to identify and confirm pest presence, or counts and trigger response and notification, if required:
    1. observations of abnormal bee appearance or ill health:
      1. greasy or wet-looking, hairless, light-coloured or opaque, reddish eyes;
      2. dysentery or fecal matter; and
      3. odour.
    2. visual signs of brood diseases, including atypical or dead larvae:
    3. visual signs of pests, including counts where applicable:
      1. on brood and adult bees
      2. bees with deformed wings
    4. visual signs of disturbance by nuisance pests such as ants, small hive beetles, and Indian meal moths
    5. diagnostic laboratory services to confirm infection or infestation
  3. Monitoring to evaluate treatment effectiveness and trigger re-treatment if necessary:
    1. Monitor treatment efficacy.
    2. Carry out diagnostic tests to confirm treatment resistance.

Recommended Practices

Good management principles of monitoring:

  1. Pay regular attention to area outbreaks and alerts.
  2. Regularly monitor whenever the hives are managed and timed to the lifecycle of the bees (when they are most vulnerable) and the lifecycle of the pest. An ongoing monitoring plan should be established to assess hives/colonies for pests:
    1. at each visit to the hive
    2. after treatments (to evaluate efficacy)
    3. before moving hives, if applicable.
  3. Recognize early visual signs that may indicate a problem. Further investigation into the cause is triggered to avoid unnecessary response.
  4. Monitor environmental or other factors that may mimic the signs of infection or infestation.
  5. Ensure that sampling methods are thorough enough to represent the entire operation.
  6. Handle samples with care to avoid spread.
  7. Confirm, using microscopic tests or diagnostic labs where indicated.
  8. Identify samples by hive box identifier.
  9. Be aware of, and participate in, voluntary inspection programs, where offered, as an alternative to self-inspection.
  10. Keep records of observations, dates, counts, and so forth.
  11. Train and update growers and staff to recognize common and exotic pests, and their symptoms.

Record Keeping

Record keeping is essential to monitoring for pests and disease. Records should be kept a sufficient period of time to enable effective and efficient traceback. Monitoring records should detail the following (supplier):

  • hive box identifier
  • date of inspection
  • person who inspected
  • pollination and foraging activity indicators (generally, estimate of percentage of plants visited)
  • visual observations of bee health and behaviour
  • visual observations of signs of pests
  • visual observations of disruption or hive box damage
  • spore or parasite counts (if applicable)

1.5 Standard Response Plan

Target Outcomes

A standard response plan is in place to address treatment thresholds, options and rotation plans, notification procedures, record keeping, and follow-up actions.


A response is an intervention, such as proper disposal, cultural methods, and treatment to contain, eliminate, or reduce levels of infections and infestations of bees.

A standard response refers to interventions that address pests that are commonly encountered in the operation or the general area. Such biosecurity risks may be associated with provincial notification requirements or alert advisories.

An elevated response is triggered when a high-risk, exotic, or unfamiliar pest is suspected or where its presence is confirmed. Such biosecurity risks are likely associated with provincial notification requirements (addressed next chapter).

A response plan is in place that includes procedures for hive disposal, isolation, treatments, communication, and notification.

Standard response planning entails keeping up to date with recommended actions, understanding environmental influences that could reduce response effectiveness, understanding and following good management practices for pest response, sanitation and disinfection procedures to avoid re-exposure, and keeping records of actions and the results.

Response planning requires that growers and their employees be trained on tools in order to implement the plan, and know when and how to contact the PA or bee inspector. (Refer to section 2.7.)

Recommended Practices

It is not the intent of this Producer Guide to detail treatment recommendations for bumblebees. If monitoring by a scout or grower discloses any significant disease or parasite concerns with a particular bumblebee hive, they will generally recommend removal of the hive in question entirely for disposal and replacement with a new commercial boxed hive. In these instances, protocols for disposal of the hive should be followed immediately in the same manner as it would be disposed of at the end of a production cycle.

If the hive is to be treated, the primary recommended Standard Response practice is to obtain and follow provincial treatment recommendations. This includes being aware of new product registrations, changes to product use procedures or seasonal treatment thresholds, as well as new cultural practices. At present, provinces do not publish recommendations for bumblebees. If treatment were required for bumblebee hives, unless specific recommendations can be gathered from other sources, the grower may need to follow the treatment recommendations for honey bees, in the absence of other information.

Record Keeping

Records of hive box disposal should be kept a sufficient period of time to enable effective and efficient traceback. It is recommended that a record be kept of the following:

  • date and location of disposal;
  • reason for disposal, including details of symptoms noted if disposal is for pest control;
  • notes about any bees known to be alive, but not disposed of;
  • method used for destroying the hive box and its contents (including the amount of time exposed to freezing, carbon monoxide, or drowning);
  • exact location of ultimate disposal at landfill, by burial, or by burning;
  • actions taken to disinfect the area where the hive box was located; and
  • notes about environmental conditions and any other relevant observations.

1.6 Elevated Response Plan

Target Outcomes

An elevated response plan is in place, and the conditions under which it will be implemented are understood.


An elevated response is triggered when a high-risk, exotic, or unfamiliar pest is suspected or where its presence is confirmed. Such biosecurity risks are likely associated with provincial notification requirements.

An elevated response plan is triggered

  • by alerts issued by the federal or provincial governments, or producer associations that an exotic pest has entered the country or has been found in your province or your local area.
  • by informal communication about unusual or elevated area outbreaks.
  • when presence in your operation is confirmed by the PA, bee inspector, a scout, or other expert.
  • when you observe some change in bee populations, behaviour, or levels of foraging and pollination activity that you cannot readily explain or have not seen before.
  • when you observe clinical signs of pests that you had not encountered before or are not now present in you operation.
  • when you have treated for a pest but found the efficacy to have been less than expected.

Threat: Introduction of a hazard in the form of a pest that can spread rapidly, cause significant economic loss, and/or cannot be controlled or eradicated easily with existing or approved methods.

Quarantine: A specific order applied to a particular premises, bees, or equipment by an inspector to prevent further spread or to detect a biosecurity risk or concern.

Quarantine area: An area specified by a senior government official in which additional efforts are made by industry and government to prevent further spread or to detect the biosecurity risk of concern.

The declared quarantine area and individual quarantine order specify the applicable boundaries, the reason for issuance, and the actions required, permitted, and prohibited. They remain in effect until lifted by the issuing authority.

Recommended Practices

1. Communication and Notification

  1. The plan includes a roll-out and triggers communication with each of the following:
    1. staff
    2. government PAs or inspectors
    3. associations
    4. suppliers of bees that could transmit the pest
    5. between growers and beekeepers, including both bumblebee and honey bee keepers, where commingling could occur
    6. farmers who have your bees placed on, or adjacent to, their fields.
  2. A directory of contact names, email addresses, and telephone numbers is kept up to date and is accessible to staff.
  3. The primary trigger to communicate with government is regulatory for notifiable threats. The trigger to communicate to others outside the operation may be a function of whether the biosecurity risk is suspected or confirmed, the potential for rapid spread, the presence of the threat elsewhere in the area, and the identified source of the hazard.

2. Bee Management Protocol

  1. If a biosecurity risk is suspected but not yet confirmed, carry out the following:
    1. Suspend hive movements, if any are scheduled.
    2. Close, mark, and restrict access to suspect colonies.
    3. If feasible, isolate suspect or dead colonies in a bee-tight facility. If applicable to the biosecurity risk, store in a cold room with low relative humidity.
    4. Suspend bee and supply sales, if applicable.
    5. Suspend further introductions from the suspected source of the biosecurity risk to your operation.
    6. Increase monitoring and inspection frequency and sampling.
    7. Set traps, if applicable (e.g. for Indian meal moth or Mellitobia wasps).
    8. Require anyone who enters or leaves areas where the biosecurity risk has been isolated to inspect or remove protective clothing and clean footwear.
    9. Take extra precautions to disinfect vehicles, nets, facilities, hive equipment, tools, personal protective equipment, after handling infested or infected colonies or hive equipment. (Refer to section  2.5.)
    10. Take extra precaution to ensure the disposal protocols for the infested hive and all contents are properly followed. (Refer to section 2.4.)
  2. If a biosecurity risk is confirmed, take the above steps, as well as the following:
    1. Implement recommended actions, including destruction, disposal, or treatments as soon as possible.
    2. Extend treatments to all colonies in the operation, depending on the biosecurity risk.
    3. Step up cultural methods, including providing supplemental feeding and otherwise managing the factors that create susceptibility to pests.

3. Quarantine Protocols

  1. Follow all requirements of the quarantine order or declared area. These may include restrictions on movement, prior requirement for official approval before movement occurs, specific destruction and disposal protocol, as well as record keeping.

4. Visitor Protocol

  1. Maintain a visitor log, including name, organization, contact information, location, where visitors are coming from and going to, the purpose of their visit, and the date and time of their visit.
  2. Require visitors who enter or leave your premises (as applicable) to inspect or remove protective clothing and clean footwear.

5. Signage

  1. Meet any signage requirements to identify quarantine boundaries.
  2. Install reminder signs for staff and visitors regarding the extra precautions to take at identified entry and exit points.
  3. Ensure suspect or confirmed hives are marked as such.

Record Keeping

Records should be kept a sufficient period of time to enable effective and efficient traceback. Record keeping is as above for the standard response plan but includes date and source of notifications, reports, and quarantine orders (with contact information) from and to

  • staff
  • government PAs or inspectors
  • associations
  • relevant suppliers or customers
  • other growers and beekeepers
  • farmers and custom pollination contractors

Maintain visitor log records.

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