- At peak foraging times, a flowering canola plant can be visited by more than 50 honeybees every hour.
- The most active time for honeybees to feed is mid-morning, when nectar secretion is highest.
- Honeybees travel 1- 5 kilometres from the hive. Leafcutters travel 400-500 metres.
- Bees prefer canola to other flowering plants because they like the colour and scent. Yellow is one of the most attractive colours to a honeybee, along with blue and white. The fluorescent anthers of canola flowers make them particularly enticing.
- About half of a canola plant’s flowers are typically visited by honeybees.
- Honeybee numbers in Canada are at near-record levels – more than 722,000 colonies in 2015, compared to 600,000 in 2000.
- More than 70% of Canadian honeybee colonies are in the western provinces.
- The mysterious U.S. problem known as colony collapse disorder has not been observed in Canada – nor has it been seen in Australia, the world’s other major canola-producing region.
- In Western Canada, acute bee kills are most commonly caused by natural forces such as frost or biological factors, such as Varroa mites.
- Communication between crop producers and beekeepers is the single most important tool for protecting pollinators. Growers should share their pest management plans with nearby beekeepers so they can prepare.
- The most considerate time to spray a foliar applied insecticide is: 1) when canola is not in bloom, and 2) after 8 p.m. in the evening, when bees have returned to the hive.
- Treated canola seed poses no risk to bees because no dust is created during canola planting.
How canola helps bees
- Canola provides an abundant supply of pollen with an ideal nutritional profile for bees.
- The quantity of nectar per flower and the sugar profile of canola nectar are great for honey production.
- Canola honey has the light colour and mild taste preferred by consumers.
- Canola flowers longer than most other crops. One field in bloom can nourish bees for a month.
- The cruciferous canola flower has an ideal size and shape for a feeding honeybee. The petals are a convenient landing platform, and the reservoirs of nectar are just the right length for a honeybee proboscis.
- Because canola blooms are so plentiful, bees can visit many flowers without traveling far.
How bees help canola
- Research suggests pollination can encourage higher yields and better ripening.
- Pollination by bees is considered essential for hybrid seed production – a vital building block for the canola industry.
- It’s good to have bees in the ‘hood. A study in Australia showed that canola pods/plant decreased as distance from an apiary increased.
Bees and canola: thriving together
Protecting bees when growing canola
What beekeepers can do
Bee health in Western Canada
Bees and Canola - Video Gallery
 Statistics Canada Cansim Table 001-007
 Manning, R. and J. Boland. 2000. A preliminary investigation into honey bee (Apis mellifera) pollination of canola (Brassica napus cv. Karoo) in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture. Vol. 40, No. 3: 439-442