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Fort Macleod needs bumble bee census-takers

bumblebee census

This chart illustrates bumble bees found in western Canada.

In response to global concerns about declines in pollinator biodiversity, Friends of the Earth is launching its second Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count and offering downloadable census cards to help identify the bees.
The campaign asks people to look for and take photos of bumble bees and to upload the photos with observations so that scientists can better track the bees and learn more about them.
The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count runs until Sept. 15.
Participants in last year’s event submitted 1,218 photos and observations for the census including 12 submissions for the critically at risk Yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola).
More than two-thirds of the food crops people depend on benefit from pollination by native bees, honey bees and other pollinators.
Bumble bees are capable of buzz pollination making them particularly effective pollinators for certain crops and flowers — including blueberries and tomatoes.
“We know from our recent poll that Canadians care deeply about saving the bees but they know very few of them by name,” said Beatrice Olivastri, chief executive officer of Friends of the Earth Canada.
The national survey released in June found almost seven out of 10 Canadians were either “concerned” or “very concerned” over the health of bees.
“We hope people will volunteer to go out with our census cards and take photos of the bumble bees wherever they are — cottages, national parks or their own garden,” Olivastri said. “By sending Friends of the Earth their photos and observations, they’ll be helping us learn more about what needs to be done to protect bumble bees.”
Bees face stresses such as habitat loss, climate change, pesticides and diseases.
The Rusty-patched bumble bee, once abundant in southern Ontario is now almost extinct and officially designated as endangered.
Six more bees have declined to such an extent that scientists have advised the federal minister of environment to take steps to protect them.
There are more than 850 confirmed species of wild native bees in Canada with little proper monitoring.
Honey bees have dedicated beekeepers to take care of them but wild, native bees need more support.
“We think it’s a priority that Canadians learn more about these bees,” Olivastri said. “We want Canadians to be just as familiar with Yellow-banded bumble bees and more of the 40-plus bumble bee species as they are with Monarch butterflies.”

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