Many residents of the Peace Region are surprised to learn that one of the most important hubs for bee research and innovation in Canada happens to be in their own backyard. GPRC’s National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC), a Technology Access Centre located in Beaverlodge, performs diagnostic services for beekeepers across the country. The centre is so well-known that it’s not uncommon for the scientists at NBDC-TAC to receive requests to share their expertise with others.
That’s what happened in May when NBDC Manager and Applied Scientist Dr. Carlos Castillo received a request from Peru asking him to lend his expertise to another diagnostic and research facility. Hosted by Peru’s National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA) Dr. Castillo spent two weeks in the Peruvian capital city of Lima, with occasional trips to the High Jungle where he was able to assist with field research. “It was really valuable to see another reality, and to understand how they keep bees in other countries,” said Castillo.
Castillo offered advice about diagnostic processes and protocols, including equipment purchase, maintenance and sampling practices. He hopes that his advice will prove valuable to the folks at INIA, especially as bee diagnostic services are becoming more and more crucial.
Bee health is suffering in Canada and in many other countries around the world with bee populations declining in recent years. This decline is due to a combination of factors, including habitat destruction, climate change, pathogens and pesticides. Farmers rely on bee pollination for many of their fruit- and nut-based crops to survive, meaning that a decline in bee health can have disastrous consequences for food production. Diagnostic services like the ones Carlos provides at NBDC-TAC can help beekeepers manage the health of their hives and encourage bee populations to flourish.
Saving the bees via international cooperation is all in a day’s work for Dr. Castillo and his team at NBDC-TAC. “My message to beekeepers is that we are here to help them,” said Castillo. “We are always open to listen to them and to try to work with them. We are here for them.”
To learn more about the NBDC-TAC, visit our website.
Come meet us in person! We’ll be at this year’s Beekeepers’ Field Day at the AAFC Research Farm in Beaverlodge on June 23, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This event is open to the public and free to attend. We hope you can join us! Event details.