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"Let it Bee" campaign aims to save Canada’s bees

save Canada's bees

As Canadians across the country start gearing up for gardening season, environmental justice group Friends of the Earth Canada ramps up its “Let It Bee” campaign aimed at promoting awareness about the global decline in bee populations and urging citizens to adopt bee-friendly gardening and landscaping practices. All in the hope to save Canada’s bees.

“Canada is home to about 800 confirmed species of bees,” says the group, with Southern Ontario representing one of Canada’s three “biodiversity hotspots,” containing the greatest diversity of bee species.

With the support of Ontario Power Generation, the Let It Bee campaign asks Canadians to “Create your own Bee & Bee” by making lawns and gardens amenable to bee habitation -by planting a variety of flowers and plants including native plants and grasses for the bees to nest in, by cutting down on sprinkler irrigation (which alters visual landmarks and cues for the bees) and, of course, by refraining from using pesticides or planting flowers or plants that have been treated with pesticides.

“We must act now to protect the diversity of wild bees,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. “Habitat loss is just as critical in cities and towns as in the countryside.  It’s time to dramatically change how we garden and landscape to make sure we protect, not kill off, wild native bees.”

The Friends of the Earth Canada campaign will be conducting a Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count between June 1 and July 15 to help bee experts track bee populations.

Due to dramatic losses and the multi-factored problem of “colony collapse disorder”, the plight of the honeybee has caught the public’s attention, with advocacy groups, bee clubs and urban backyard beehives popping up across the country. Montreal-based Alveole rents out beehives to people interested in supporting bee populations and in making a bit of their own honey to boot.

Currently hit with a huge demand for beehives, the company is opening up “honey houses” in Toronto and Quebec City to help guide people through the first steps of beekeeping. Alveole co-founder Declan Rankin Jardin says cities are prime locations for honeybees, due to more floral diversity, lack of competition from other insects and municipal cosmetic pesticide bans, but that provincial and municipal rules are overly restrictive about the placement of beehives.

The Ontario Bee Act requires that hives be placed at least 30 metres away from roadways while the Quebec law asks for 15 metres. “It’s kind of an archaic rule that doesn’t really encourage urban bee-keeping,” says Rankin Jardin. “A lot of installations can be made that are within 30 meters that are totally legitimate and wouldn’t harm bees or people.”

A recent survey of beekeepers in the United States which showed a 44 per cent loss in honey bee colonies over just the past year. Experts are still trying to determine the exact causes of the decline in numbers but evidence points to a group of factors including the varroa mite, a parasite that spreads easily between colonies, neonicitinoid pesticides and malnutrition resulting from changing land use patterns of modern agriculture.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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  1. Once again they seem to be concentrating on the honey bee and ignore the native bees and providing homes for them. I have made homes for Mason bees and they are now full of larvae and my flowers and fruit trees never looked better and the bees don’t sting.
    In addition to the efforts made on the honey bees I would like to see education and efforts on the native beens as well. With 800 varieties surely there are things we can do to help them as well.

  2. Hey Barney Biggs – you couldn’t be more right. I have a small honeybee operation (mom and pop with just 4 hives) that I have been doing for some 10 years. I keep telling people that the honeybees are the worst of the pollinators – the native bees are possibly 10 times the pollinators that honeybees are. No one talks about the native bees – but they have to start looking at them. I look at our flowers and there are way more bumblebees (native) that there are honeybees.

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