Honey bee queen health and performance is a crucial determinant of colony health and productivity. In Canada, a
large number of queens are imported, mainly from Northern California and Hawaii, although queens may also be
imported from Australia, New Zealand, and Chile. In 2015, 250,000 queens valued at $7 million were imported to
Canada. According to beekeepers, the performance of local and imported queens is variable, and queen
replacements are needed more often than in the past.
Investigate the health status of freshly mated queens, both locally produced and imported, by analysis of
pathogens and the quantity and viability of the sperm the queen carried. Potential causes of low sperm quality
will be considered, including challenges during mating or transport from the vendor.
Stock purchased from leading foreign producers (Chile, Australia, Hawaii, and California) and several Canadian
provinces are assessed for sperm count and viability. Both queens and shipment attendants are evaluated on a
panel of viruses, Nosema species identification, and Trypanosomes. This research will compare locally produced
honey bee queens with imported queens.
Queens were purchased for the past 3 production seasons (2014-2016) from local (Canadian) and foreign producers
and are being analyzed.