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

Canadians smoke less according to community health survey

Obesity and heavy drinking rates remain steady

Garden suite applications on the rise, but not without a few hitches: staff report

Victoria city council to hear update on revised garden suite application process

Armoury event highlights Canada’s D-Day efforts in Normandy

Event runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

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

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read