June 2013

Manitoba Chamber of Commerce

Issue link: http://publications.winnipegfreepress.com/i/141831

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CENTRAL WHAT'S THE BUZZ: Don Kitson has been knee-deep in bees most of his life. CENTRAL CARMAN & COMMUNITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE DE NOTRE-DAME MACGREGOR & DISTRICT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OAKVILLE & DISTRICT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TREHERNE & DISTRICT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEW & NOTEWORTHY Photos by Fred Greenslade hives to a fellow beekeeper who lost 70% of his bees. He says farm crops dwindled early after a dry summer last year, and that caused a steeper decline in bee populations in the fall. With smaller colonies, hives weren't strong enough to endure the long winter. And beekeepers are already challenged to maintain healthy hives. The term "colony collapse disorder" has been assigned to what may be a range of forces contributing to bee deaths in North America, including parasitic mites and pesticide use. Kitson says everyone should be concerned, and not just because bees pollinate our food crops. "Bees are the bellwether," he says. "They are sensitive to the chemicals that are around us. If they die — we're next." Kitson says the number of hives in Manitoba is decreasing anyway, partly because beekeeping is hard work. Over the winter, he keeps his bees in a shed, where he maintains optimum humidity levels and a temperature of 4C to ensure they survive on a winter diet of sugar syrup. His hives contained about 15,000 bees when he put them out in late April and he'd like to see 40,000 - 50,000 bees per hive by midsummer. "After 50,000, it's hard to keep them in the hive — they want to swarm," he says. Swarms in search of a new hive consist of enough bees "to kill you many times over," he says. But they fill up on so much food for the trip, they're not inclined to sting. "They're the friendliest bunch of critters, beewise, that you'll ever run into." Kitson moves his own hives fairly often to give them a balanced diet from area farm fields, and he says farmers are happy to host them. "They're not upset with having pollinators out there — they understand plants." www.beemaid.com >> Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council launched an initiative to match aboriginal youth with employers in the Portage area at an April 25 luncheon with the Portage la Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce. Sen. Vernon White, chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, was the keynote speaker at the event. DOTC created its Realization of Regionally Based Economic and Employment Opportunities project in response to a Central Plains Inc. report that identified aboriginal youth as a potential source of workers to fill gaps in the labour market. The first phase targets 40 youth from Long Plain First Nation and Sandy Bay First Nation. >> Ducks Unlimited, the University of Manitoba and the provincial and federal governments partnered on a $3.5-million project to prevent non-native carp from spawning in Delta Marsh this spring. Construction was completed in March on seven structures outfitted with screens that can be lowered to prevent destructive carp from entering the marsh from Lake Manitoba. Northern pike, perch and other native species of fish still have access to the marsh. The carp exclusion project is part of a larger rehabilitation scheme called Restoring the Tradition at Delta Marsh. MBiz June 2013 27 MBiz June 2013_final.indd Sec1:27 6/21/13 3:26:06 PM

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