Ontario Nature Blog

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Tag: bees (Page 2 of 3)

Which wild pollinators are in decline and why?


There are 1,000s of wild pollinators in Ontario. Bees and flies are most significant, but butterflies, beetles, wasps, ants, moths and hummingbirds also pollinate plants. It is important to keep this in mind when reading about pollinator decline, which has been a hot news topic for many years.

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Neonics at breakfast

Bumble bee on blossom. Credit: John Vetterli

Carpenter bee on blossom. Credit: John Vetterli

For breakfast this morning, I had the pleasure of attending a science briefing on neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) presented by Dr. Jean-Marc Bonmatin, vice-chair of the international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides. Hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation at Queens Park, the breakfast event was sponsored by MPPs Marie-France Lalonde and Peter Tabuns, and attended by several other MPPs, including Glen Murray, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

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What’s a gardener to do?

Bumble bee and honey bee on butterfly milkweed. Credit: Martin LaBar

Bumblebee and honey bee on butterfly milkweed. Credit: Martin LaBar

Much of the discussion around neonicotinoids focuses on agriculture, but the horticulture industry also uses these chemicals. In a 2014 Friends of the Earth study of flowers for sale at garden centres in Canada, more than 50 percent of the tested plants contained traces of at least one neonicotinoid. Most shocking was that many of these contaminated plants were labelled “bee-friendly”.

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Wild Bees in Trouble

American bumblebee,  Credit: Thom Wilson of Baltimore City, MD, USA

American bumblebee, Credit: Thom Wilson of Baltimore City, MD, USA

Half of the bumblebee species in eastern North America are in decline. This trend holds true in southern Ontario, where seven of the 14 bumblebee species found in surveys from 1971 – 1973 were found to be either absent or in decline when surveyed 30 years later. Some of these, like the rusty-patched, the gypsy cuckoo and the American bumblebee, were once common and/or widespread in parts of the province. The causes of decline are not fully understood, though it is widely accepted that habitat destruction and the use of pesticides are significant threats.

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Interesting Insects: a photo journal by Matt Jenkins

Photography has always been a passion of mine. At first, I was interested only in macro photography, but soon enough I began challenging myself to look at the big picture and shoot landscapes. Now I enjoy capturing all types of images.

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