UN has issued an official report warning the dangers of pollinator loss.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services issued a new report last month, warning about the catastrophic implications of the death of pollinators world-wide.
In a release by IPBES Vice Chairman, Robert Watson commented”wild pollinators in certain regions, especially bees and butterflies, are being threatened by a variety of factors. Their decline is primarily due to changes in land use, intensive agricultural practices and pesticide use, alien invasive species, diseases and pests, and climate change.”
The report that the IPBES released also suggests that the best ways to support the current bee population is to decrease the use of pesticides, increase the number of hives worldwide and to educate farmers, scientists and the general public about pesticides and mites.
The Dying Bee Population
The Canadian Association Of Professional Apiculturists ( CAPA ) reported that in 2013 and 2014, Canadian beekeepers lost between 15 to 29% of their bees. Many beekeeper collectives, including the Ontario Beekeepers Association blame the use of neonicotinoids as the reason behind the large loss of bees. Neonicotinoida is a class of insecticides that are mainly used for corn and soya production.
Since 2014, Health Canada has implemented new measures to reduce the exposure of this chemical to pollinators, however organic farming remains the safest avenue in terms of environmental protection.
Local Organic Bee Farmers & Apiaries
Steve Gourley is the owner and operator of local organic honey company Gold Strike Honey. Steve made the decision in 2012 to move his bee’s from the Fraser Valley to Lillooet BC. “The health of my bees was so bad, I had to do something.”Steve said, after he watched the health of his bees deteriorating due to the over usage of pesticides on crops in the area, he then decided to move his bees to an area that had mainly organic crops.
“When I had my bees in Chilliwack, I was loosing up to 50 percent of my bee’s every year… now in Lillooet I usually only loose around 9 or 10 percent.” said Steve. ” It was totally the pesticides that were causing the problems, 100% that’s what it was” he said, when asked why he was loosing such a large percentage of his bees.
” It was totally the pesticides that were causing the problems, 100% that’s what it was”- Steve Gourley, BC Beekeeper
Many people are wondering what they can do on a local / personal level, to help build up the failing bee population, besides buying organic produce. What better way to help the bee population, than to become an urban keeper. Urban bee keeping not only saves you money at the grocery store, but ultimately helps to increase and assist the local bee population.
Steve Gourley had some some words of encouragement for the rookie beekeepers out there. “We need all the help we can get, to get the bee population back in check.”
Steps To Urban Beekeeping
If you are interested in keeping bees in your yard, there are two steps you need to follow:
- Review the City’s beekeeping guidelines.
- Register your beehive with the Province of BC
To learn more, visit the City Of Vancouver’s website for more details.