Manitoba beekeepers are experiencing higher than normal mortality rates in colonies kept over winter. Many losses have been caused by unmanageable natural perils, such as weather-related losses and diseases with no means of adequate control.
To assist with the financial burden of these uncontrollable losses, the Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance program insures a producer’s bee colonies against unmanageable abnormal overwinter losses.
Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance Factsheet
Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance gives beekeepers the option to insure their colonies at high dollar coverage or low dollar coverage levels, and are paid an indemnity if overwinter losses results in the number of surviving colonies being less than their colony guarantee.
You must apply for Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance by August 31. Once your colonies are placed in overwinter storage, you have until November 30 to file a Declaration of Overwinter Colonies Report to declare and confirm the number of colonies placed in winter storage.
If you are enrolled in the Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance program and experience insurable losses over the winter, you have until May 15 (or 3 days prior to taking action in respect of the management and control of wintered colonies, whichever comes first) to file a claim without a late fee by filing a Declaration of Overwinter Colonies Mortality Report.
If you miss the May 15 reporting deadline, you still must file the Declaration of Overwinter Colonies Mortality Report by May 31. You may still file a claim during this period, however a late fee will be applied.
To be eligible for Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance, you must:
reside in Manitoba and operate an apiary in the province;
have a minimum of 50 colonies accepted for Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance; and
have strong colonies placed in either indoor or outdoor storage, and/or have nuclear colonies placed in indoor storage.
Eligible Frames and Colony Types
The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation considers an 'Eligible Frame' as a frame with at least 2/3rds of the cells on each side of the frame filled with brood or eggs, or covered with live bees, or a combination thereof.
Based on the number of eligible frames, colonies are classified as follows:
Entering Winter Storage
A Strong Colony has 7 or more eligible frames, and a Nuclear Colony has 4 or more eligible frames.
Exiting Winter Storage
A Strong Colony has 5 or more eligible frames, a Weak Colony has 3 to 4 eligible frames, and a Dead Colony has 2 or fewer eligible frames.
A Strong Nuclear Colony has 4 or more eligible frames, a Weak Nuclear Colony has 3 eligible frames, and a Dead Nuclear Colony has 2 or fewer eligible frames.
For claim purposes, 33% of weak colonies are counted as surviving colonies.
Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance covers losses of strong colonies (described as having 7 or more frames of brood or bees when placed in winter storage) and nuclear colonies (described as having a minimum of 4 frames of brood or bees when placed in winter storage) that suffer abnormal winter losses due to weather, disease and/or pests that have no means of adequate control.
Beekeepers may select a low dollar value coverage of $145 per colony, or a high dollar coverage of $215 per colony.
Coverage is based on 90% of the number of overwinter colonies multiplied by the survival rate. New program participants in 2019 receive Manitoba's historic survival rate (64%), and producers enrolled in the program for two or more years receive a survival rate based on their experience.
A beekeeper insures 100 colonies for overwinter storage at the high dollar value.
Coverage = number of colonies (100) x survival rate (64%) x 90% = 58 (rounded)
58 x dollar coverage ($215) = $12,470
Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance does not insure against any loses resulting from inadequate or improper winter storage, inadequate surveillance, failure to follow normal or recommended beekeeper practices, and theft or vandalism.
August 31 is the last day to apply for or cancel an Overwinter Bee Mortality Insurance contract.
March 31 is the last day unpaid premiums for the previous year's coverage will remain interest-free.
November 30 is the last day to file a Declaration of Overwinter Colonies Report to declare and confirm the number of colonies placed in winter storage.
May 15 (or 3 days prior to taking action in respect of the management and control of overwinter colonies, whichever comes first) is the last day to file a claim without a late fee.
May 31 is the last day to file a Declaration of Overwinter Colonies Report. May 31 is also the last day to file a claim with late fees.
Claims for this program are paid if the insured producer's surviving colonies are thess than their colony guarantee, as shown:
A new beekeeper insures 100 colonies for overwinter storage at the high dollar value. In spring, the beekeeper finds that 30 colonies are strong, 26 colonies are weak and 44 colonies are dead.
Surviving colonies = 30 strong colonies + (26 weak colonies x 33%) = 39 surviving colonies
Claim = insured colonies x survival rate x 90% - surviving colonies
= 100 x 64% x 90% - 39 = 19 (rounded)
= 19 x $215
In this example, the beekeeper is paid $4,085 for the insurable loss.