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

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

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read