beekeeper at hiveThe migration of honeybees into Saskatchewan coincides with the coming of the first settlers from eastern Canada and the United States. The first records of honeybees in the province date back to 1900. By 1922, there were about 85 beekeepers who produced 24,000 pounds of honey. Most of these beekeepers were located in the southern and eastern parts of the province. Interest in producing honey was aroused at this time by a growing demand as well as by increasing prices for honey, due in part, by shortages and high prices of sugar which occurred during and immediately after World War 1.

The Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association was organized in 1923 with John Hubbard of Grenfell as the first president and Thomas Mack of Lumsden as the first vice-president. Hubbard held the first organized beekeeper meeting in 1920 at his apiary in Grenfell, assisted by Robert Hamilton of Aylsham. Organized research and extension work in beekeeping had its beginning at the University of Saskatchewan in 1923 under the direction of Dr. C.F. Patterson, head of the Horticulture Department.

The first pamphlets on beekeeping in Saskatchewan were "Possibilities of Beekeeping in Saskatchewan" by J. Hubbard, published by the King’s Printer, Regina, in 1922 and "Beekeeping, A New Industry for Saskatchewan" by C.F. Patterson, published by the Univ. of Sask. In 1924. The first bulletin "Beekeeping in Saskatchewan" by R.M. Pugh was published in 1929. The first short course was a five-day course held at the University of Saskatchewan in February, 1926, while the first regular course in beekeeping offered at the University of Saskatchewan was given during the academic year 1926-27, and is still offered each year.

The Apiaries Act which now governs the beekeeping industry in the province was enacted in 1924. The first office to look after beekeeping was set up in the Field Crops Branch with Mr A.I. Smith, a Regina beekeeper, in charge of the work. The first Provincial Apiarist, Mr. R.M. Pugh, took office in 1927 and continued in that capacity until 1948.

World War ll caused a further expansion of beekeeping because of sugar rationing. By 1947 there were over 10,000 registered beekeepers in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Honey Producers Co-operative Association was organized in 1939 with its first packing plant at Yorkton. For a time, the Apiary Branch of the Department of Agriculture and the offices of the Beekeepers Association and Honey Producers Co-operative were located at Fort Qu’Appelle.At this time, the Association was credited as having the largest membership of any beekeeping organization in the world. The president, from 1940 to 1951 was Mr. P.C. Colquohoun, beekeeper, rancher and farmer from Maple Creek.

The Beekeepers Association and the Honey Producers Co-operative became separate entities in the 1950s and the Co-operative amalgamated with the Manitoba Honey Producers Co-operative in the 1970s.

The SBA has been a Non-Profit Organization since 1962.

The Saskatchewan Beekeepers Association continues as an organization dedicated to the continued support and success of the industry in the province and functions to educate the membership and represent the industry at the provincial and national government levels.


Importation of Bees in Saskatchewan

Important Notice:
The SBA Board is concerned about the negative impact of bees on comb approved for import into Saskatchewan. Please direct your concerns regarding the importation of bees on comb to the Honourable Lyle Stewart, or our Provincial Specialist in apiculture Geoff Wilson