by Maria Koropecky, Wellness Coach
There were some lovely Peonies growing in my garden recently so I decided to grab my camera and take some photos. Within a moment, I big Bumble Bee flew into my shot as if to pose just for me.
So I took a number of pictures and after a couple of minutes, the bee took off, headed a couple of feet to my left, turned around on a dime, and flew past me again. To me, this fly-by felt like she was telling me she did that on purpose! It was a beautiful moment and I really felt connected to my bee friend.
A couple of days later, I went for a wellness walk in my neighbourhood and sadly, on my short street, I found three dead Bumble Bees on the ground. It saddened me and I wondered if this was an anomaly. One maybe… but three in early June?
So, I contacted the Royal BC Museum by email. From a behind-scenes-tour I had been on in May, I knew that if I had ever come across anything like this, to let them know because it may be useful for their collections.
Claudia Copley, the Curator of the Entomology department at the Royal BC Museum replied promptly. She said,
“I would add them to the museum collection. I find them on my bike ride in to and from work and do the same thing. Please put where and when you found them (written in pencil) on a piece of paper and into a jar/container with them and pop that into the freezer to keep the specimens as fresh as possible. I’ll be at the museum again on Friday and next week, if there is a time that suits you to drop them by.”
So, I followed Claudia’s instructions and let her know that I would be coming on Friday to deliver the bees to her.
When we met, she looked at the bees and figured they were Bumble Bee Queen Bees. I asked about their lifespans and she said Queen Bees can live for a year or so while they build their colonies. Sometimes they get hit by cars, but more likely, these bees had ingested poisons from recently planted Bedding Plants in the neighbourhood.
Claudia said I wasn’t the only person to contact her about bees that day and to look up “Neonicotinoids” specifically. These are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine which were initially developed by Shell and Bayer Corporations in the 1980s and 1990s.
Controversial studies have shown that Neonicotinoid use has been linked to adverse ecological effects, including honey-bee colony collapse disorder (CCD). Claudia said the Western Bees are already on the verge on extinction and the Bumble Bees are close behind.
This is alarming news!
The relationship between bees and flowers and the rest of the planet is profound and we need bees for our food supply! It’s time to make bees a priority!
Ironically, I live in Elizabeth May’s Riding in Victoria, British Columbia, the Greenest riding in all of Canada. We love our gardens and we boast about our year-round growing season to everyone back East.
However, we need to be especially vigilant about our gardening practices and be mindful about where the plants we purchase for our gardens come from.
Instructions for Green Leaders!
From now on, please ask your nurseries if the grower used Neonicotinoids on their plants. If they did, or if they don’t know the answer, don’t buy them or plant them.
As a conscious, green consumer, you have a say! You can choose where to spend your dollars and therefore influence the global market and the future. Please do your part and help #savethebees!