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

Claims already being staked after GeoScience BC report released

In the first 15 days following the report, a total of 34 new claims were staked.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Waulkwass River

A kingfisher and some trumpeter swans came by close enough to get a few shots.

Port Hardy RCMP investigating drug offences

Both vehicle occupants may face future charges related to the suspected drugs and cash.

Port McNeill’s Barb Drennan named forest technologist of the year

“Her work with the Heiltsuk First Nation is a model for other forest professionals”

VIDEO: Behind the scenes of turning newspapers into digital archives

Kelowna Capital News donated materials dating from 1980 to 2000

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Most Read