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

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

Victoria fulfills period promise with free menstrual products

Tampons, pads and other products available at City Hall and downtown washrooms

Change room thief nabbed by West Shore RCMP Bike Unit

Quick-thinking caller leads police to suspect after witnessing theft

PHOTOS: Car Free YYJ entertains the masses in Victoria

Third annual fair where cars are banned goes off without a hitch

Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival returns to its roots, 20 years in

Longstanding music event brings together myriad talent in various genres

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Police probe report of shooting as Raptors rally continues

There were reports of a woman being injured at the event that celebrates the team’s NBA title win

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Man suffers burns, dog dies in fire in Nanaimo

Structure burns down on Clifford Road property in Cedar

Province comes through with funding for Charleigh Fales

Lake Cowichan toddler only one in B.C. diagnosed with CLN2 Batten disease

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Most Read