Residents of Chartwell Willow Retirement Community learned about the importance of bees during an information session held by the Alouette River Management Society on Wednesday.
ARMS brought their observation beehive containing 30,000 bees to the senior’s residence for the session called A Day in the Garden, where people had a chance to talk with the pollinator project team and plant bee-friendly plants in garden beds on the north side of the building.
Tim Bientjes, a summer student with ARMS, explained that honey bees are not a native species in Canada and are completely reliant on agriculture.
“So they are relatively safe because they live in hives made by people,” he explained to the crowd gathered around the hive.
He also said that there are other species of bees in trouble like the Western honey bee which is found in the area and is being put on the endangered species list. There are other species of bee, Bientjes added, that we know nothing about.
Bientjes said that the number one reason why bee populations are threatened is habitat loss and fragmentation. People have big grass lawns and remove dandelions and clovers, a food source for the tiny creatures.
He added that pesticides are still an issue if people are spraying all year long, but most farmers spray after the blooming season.
“If it is done at the right time of year then the risks can be mitigated,” noted Bientjes.
Residents also had an opportunity to paint wooden butterflies or build a mason bee house during the event.
ARMS was formed as a society in 1993 with a primary focus to negotiate with BC Hydro an increase in the river’s base flow from the Alouette Dam.
Since 1996, ARMS has become involved in almost all aspects of watershed stewardship, including education, inventory and monitoring, habitat restoration and lobbying for the protection of aquatic habitat.
The volunteer supported society is dedicated to proactively protecting and improving the Alouette Watershed and surrounding areas by creating a healthy environment connecting parks, trail systems, public centers and waterways.
They are involved in watershed inventory and monitoring, habitat restoration, public awareness and adopt-a-stream, liaising with all levels of government and private land owners, and working towards the protection of aquatic habitat. ARMS offers environmental education programs including field trips, classroom and habitat programs, and day camps.
The group is currently advocating for a fish ladder over the Alouette Dam.