Peter Awram of the Worker Bee Honey Company shows agriculture minister Lana Popham the new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machine. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Automated honey extraction system to help B.C.’s beekeeping industry

The B.C. agri-tech project will receive $170,320 in funding to build prototype

It’s a high-tech project to help beekeepers monitor their hives better and improve honey yields.

The Worker Bee Honey Company of Chilliwack has partnered with University of the Fraser Valley to develop an automated honey extraction information system.

“We’ve been working on this project for three years,” said Peter Awram, owner of Worker Bee Honey Co., said about the machines that will streamline the extraction.

The industry has been struggling for decades, Awram noted, and the technology has been extremely slow to evolve.

“Beekeeping has not changed much in a century,” he said. “That got me thinking of big changes that could help.”

The honey extraction information system is one of 28 projects to be awarded funding from the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program (CAP). The project will receive $170,320 in CAP funding to create the automated harvest system.

“The funding is well-appreciated,” Awram said, as it directly addresses one of the beekeeper’s central challenges: “We can’t find workers. No one wants these jobs.”

Typically the honey operation that he runs needs seven workers during harvest time, which occurs over seven very specific weeks in June, as well as in July and August.

“The faster you pull the honey off, the more efficient your use of capital. That was the impetus for the project. You need a lot of labour for a short period of time.”

Lin Long, associate professor of engineering and physics at UFV, is designing the automated system.

The funding is going into producing a prototype with the help of UFV engineering students who will get field experience. These machines will ultimately replace the work of one person and they are under construction in Chilliwack right now.

“By reducing costs to beekeepers, this will help to ensure a sustainable bee/honey sector, which is essential for the long-term success of B.C. and Canadian agriculture,” said Long.

The proposed system will increase efficiency, cut processing time and address the shortage of skilled labour in the honey industry by automating harvesting through technology.

READ MORE: Worker Bee Honey Co. opens fraud detecting lab

“The system will be able to monitor each hive’s honey yield and provide insight into superior breeding stock of male and queen bees, hive diseases and the impact of environmental variables, such as climate and weather on each hive,” according to the release from CAP.

The results of this project will help beekeepers better care for their hives and improve honey yield.

“Time and again, producers prove their ingenuity in finding solutions to the challenges they face,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said in the news release. “Our government is very excited to collaborate with industry and the Province of B.C. on the introduction of these innovations, which help our British Columbian agriculture industry grow in sustainable ways.”

Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture agreed with the ingenuity comment. She had been present last year in Chilliwack when the Worker Bee Honey Co. opened up its specialized lab to detect fraudulent honey.

“The innovative projects coming out of B.C. are impressive,” Minister Popham added.

READ MORE: Blueberry honey heading to Japan


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AgricultureTechnology

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Nakusp store launches delivery service by donation for those in need during COVID-19 crisis

Hilltop Convenience Store has been getting up to three calls a day for the service

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Slocan Valley craft distiller wading through obstacles to help fight COVID-19

From raw materials to licences to bottles, getting production ramped up has been a challenge

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read