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)

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 Vancouver Island 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 Vancouver Island.

But for one Island 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

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Taya Lee is a Grade 11 student at Glenlyon Norfolk School investigating the use of algae for cleaning contaminated water and producing biodiesel. (Courtesy of Taya Lee)
Algae in can clean water, produce biodiesel, says Vancouver Island Grade 11 student

Taya Lee is presenting her project at the Sanofi Biogenius Canada Innovation Summit

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel boom in Vancouver Island gardening

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read