Honey, I’m home… in Alberta

Like when Jerry Seinfeld’s beloved Bee Movie character Barry B. Benson finally settled down with a nice florist, Canadian honeybees have found themselves a loving home.

Driving the news: Alberta may be known more for raising cattle and pumping out barrels of oil, but it’s also the province that produced nearly $105.6 million worth of honey last year — good for setting a new Canadian record, according to the CBC

  • As of 2023, nearly 303,000 honeybee colonies called Alberta home — by far the most of any province — and the region produced 40% of all Canadian honey.

  • Interest in beekeeping has grown steadily alongside the bee population, with the profession seeing a threefold increase in the province over the last 16 years. 

Why it matters: Alberta’s blossoming honeybee industry isn’t just good news for honey lovers — those busy bees are also adding as much as $7 billion dollars in economic value to the province's agriculture sector through pollination. 

  • Key exports like canola and cattle that helped Albertan farmers bring in $22 billion in 2022 have largely benefitted from the high bee population.

  • Certain crops are extremely dependent on honeybees, with some Alberta beekeepers actually sending their bees to B.C. to help pollinate the province's famous blueberries.

Bottom line: At a time when bee populations around North America are in drastic decline, the growth of Alberta’s honeybee colonies — and interest in beekeeping — has been a buoy for its agri-food sector, especially as the province grapples with unprecedented water shortages.—LA