Lake Bloomers bring bee expert to Lake Cowichan

The Lake Bloomers Club will be hosting guest speaker Gord Hutchings later this month for a presentation on preserving native bees.

The Lake Bloomers Club will be hosting guest speaker Gord Hutchings later this month for a presentation called “The Co-evolution of Flowering Plants and Native Bees,” which focuses on the dwindling native bee population and the dire effects their absence could bring.

Hutchings, an entomologist at the University of Victoria, has spent the last 25 years studying and educating about bees and dragonflies across western Canada.

“I started looking into the subject at the request of some members,” Lake Bloomers president Cara Smith said. “We have members do questionnaires every year about what sort of guests they would like to have come speak to the club, and bees were something that a lot of people wanted to learn more about.”

The topic has come up frequently on a national, even worldwide, level over the past decade, with statistics to back up the urgency of the issue. According to the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, winter honey bee losses have ranged from 15 to 35 per cent Canada-wide, despite the group placing 15 per cent as the highest “acceptable loss.” Much of the population loss has been attributed to neonicotinoid pesticides, which are highly toxic to bees and other pollinators. While failing populations have been heaviest in Ontario, Smith said she wants to get as much buzz about it as possible in Lake Cowichan.

“A lot of the bee deaths here haven’t been from pesticides, but from the loss of habitat and food,” she said. “If a type of bee only feeds off a certain plant, and that plant disappears, the bee will disappear with it.”

“The Co-evolution of Flowering Plants and Native Bees” will take place at the 50 Plus Activity Centre on April 21 at 7 p.m. The presentation will be open to the general public with admission by donation.