Beekeeping Survey


The results from the 2010 NSERC-CANPOLIN Beekeeping Survey are now available!

Nous regrettons de ne pouvoir vous offrir ce rapport en français en raison de contraintes budgetaire.




Lina Urbisci, M.Sc.
Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of Guelph


Executive Summary

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has
commissioned a five-year strategic network to address the growing problem of pollinator
decline in Canada through the Canadian Pollination Initiative (CANPOLIN). As an
integral part of CANPOLIN’s Economic Theme working group, a study was designed by
the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of
Guelph to investigate issues surrounding the economic viability of managed honeybees in
Canada. The 2010 Beekeeping Survey was developed to learn how apiarists are
managing their operations in this changing industry.
The 2010 Beekeeping Survey was administered by mail and internet in both
official languages to apiarist across Canada during the summer and fall of 2011. The
survey covered a range of topics including personal characteristics, operating costs and
revenues, goods and services offered, commercial pollination, and colony losses.
Although most of Canada’s beekeepers are located in the Prairies, the majority of
survey respondents were from Ontario and Quebec. Survey participants were between
the ages of 40 and 59 years, on average, held post-secondary diplomas, and possessed an
average of 14 years of beekeeping experience.
Special emphasis in this study was placed on whether the size and number of
apiary products and services offered affect beekeepers’ profits. Findings suggest that
smaller apiaries tend to be more profitable on a per-colony basis. Moreover, the number
of goods and services offered also varied positively with profits per colony.
This investigation also looked at commercial pollination services as an example
of enterprise diversification. The objective in this case was to gain perspective on issues
beekeepers may face in offering an additional product or service for extra income.
Overall, transportation and equipment constraints as well as small size of operation were
the most commonly cited challenges to getting started with commercial pollination.
In an effort to produce recommendations for improving beekeeping management
techniques and policy initiatives, this study also included a foreign research component
focusing on European beekeeping industries. Possible initiatives for beekeepers could
involve forming regional professional associations to legitimizing specific apiary
activities or liaising with complimentary industries. From a policy perspective, public
funding initiatives could target recuperating annual losses of honeybee colonies, or
investment in training and equipment purchase for apiarists seeking to develop or expand
their beekeeping operations.


Read the complete report here (PDF)




nserc uog © 2009 NSERC-CANPOLIN