Crops are grown in our area and it's a hefty part of our economy. Another industry that works hand-in-hand with producers, and is actually part of a mutual need between itself and farmers, is honey production. 

MacGregor's Nichol Honey Farm owner Marc Nichol explains the co-dependency between the two industries.

"We depend on the farmers and we like to think, somewhat, that the farmers do depend on us," says Nichol.  "I've never heard of farmers say that bees were a bad thing to have on their canola fields, so I'd like to think that there is some benefit to them. We're on their land as tenants and kind of give them honey in return. Our bees help pollinate their crops that they put in. It's very important. We try to work with them and be on good working terms both ways. I always appreciate a farmer that gives me a call and says, 'I've got to spray this,' 'I have flea beetles,' or 'I have Barthelemy worm,' or 'something came up.'"

He notes they have hives on farmers' properties usually on an old farm site where the bees have access to water, noting they need water. 

"We're always looking for those yard sites where an old farmhouse is on there that's 100-years-old or 50-years-old," adds Nichol. "Those are what the bees like -- their shelter. There's water, there's access for them, and it's generally in our area. There's almost always a foraging crop within a mile or two."

He notes what the farmers do dictates what beekeepers do, alongside what the weather dictates that which the farmers are able to do.

A normal year would see numbers of bees built up for forage time, and that's usually June and July.

"There is some concern that maybe some crop may not even get put in, especially with these recent rains, so some farmers may just forgo opening a cropping, or put something in that isn't of much value to the bees," continues Nichol. "It gets kind of crunched up in time where your forage time gets later in the season -- it gets tighter. There's less time for the bees to make a crop, so that is a bit of concern. And throw that on top of the fact that there were larger losses in the province, the guys may not be able to get their bees up to that forage time. Anytime we start with these higher losses, it's very difficult to say that we're going to have a normal year. The numbers just won't be there for a normal crop. Then you factor in the weather and just a little bit of a late season. We've always said if you make the crop early, you've got it. If you're waiting for it, you may not get it."