While experts say there isn’t enough research to understand the depths of the issues surronding the Island’s pollinaotrs, there is a clear coorelation to climate change that is leading to declining numbers of bees. One species of bee on Galiano Island hasn’t been spotted since 1990. (Neil Corbett/Black Press)

How worried should we be about the bees?

One bee species hasn’t been seen since 1990

With approximately 500 different species of bees in the province and limited research on them it’s hard to understand the state of pollinators on the Island but for one area bee keeper the time for action is now.

Ted Leischner, founder of Plan Bee Now, has 20 hives. He’s become increasingly worried after seeing the bees struggles first hand.

“I’ve kept bees for 40 years, and I’m finding it very difficult to keep honeybees here in B.C. — especially as the climate changes,” he says. “I’ve only had one good crop since I’ve been here.”

The 70-year-old has been a life long observer of pollinators, giving workshops throughout western Canada. One of Leishcner main concerns is the amount of food or flowers available to bees on the Island. He says drastic action is needed, and it’s needs to be fast.

READ ALSO: Prize winning Urban Bee Honey Farm generating a buzz

“Climate change has certainly taken a toll. I see it in my bees,” he says. “I can read my honeybees pretty good and there’s been kind of a malaise in my hives over the last three or four years that I’ve never seen in my life. I find it very scary, something needs to be done.”

Andrew Simon is a UVic environmental studies graduate student studying the western bumblebee on Galiano Island. This particular type of bee was last spotted in 1990 and hasn’t been reported since, along with two other dependent species of bees. It’s one of eight types of bumble bees on the endangered species list.

While Simon doesn’t feel an alarmist view is necessary, he emphasizes the lack of research being done to clarify the problem.

“I think the most important message to get across when it comes to the threat of bees in B.C. is that we don’t know enough. We don’t have a baseline to really assess whether species are declining for many of them because we haven’t been paying attention to them,” says Simon.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay workshop teaches how to help native pollinators

Jenny Lotz of Pollinator Partnership Canada agrees. She says without being able to identify the causation the correlation is pretty obvious.

“There is this state of emergency, but with this lack of hard scientific data, we’re not able to 100 per cent say this is what’s happening,” she says.

According to Lotz the biggest contributing factors to the decline of bees is land degradation causing habitat fragmentation due to urbanization coupled with agriculture and industrial expansion. Another major factor to the decline of bees is the changing timing of the seasons.

READ ALSO: Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

“There’s usually a high synchronicity between [flowers blooming and bees emerging], but now flowers sometimes bloom either earlier or later — that long evolved synchronicity is losing it’s timing,” she says.

For Lesichner the evidence is in his hives. He wants to see government action similar to the U.K., who declared bees a matter of national security after implementing a 10-year National Pollinator Strategy in 2014.

“We need acres and acres of the right kinds of flowers, we need sufficient nectar and pollen production in the whole landscape to keep all our native bees,” he says. “We’re talking thousands of acres, not casually but as if our lives depended on it, because in fact they do.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province overrules View Royal; plans to build handyDART facility

View Royal Mayor calls province’s actions “heavy handed” and “unusual”

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

Residents say Monday’s fatal crash in Saanich wasn’t unexpected

Speed has long been a concern for neighbours in the Cumberland and Union roads area

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Victoria Conservatory of Music bursary fund reaches $1M mark

The Eric and Shirley Charman Bursary Fund launched in 2017

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read