Everywhere on the planet, we observe the decline of pollinating insects, especially bees and bumblebees, wild and domestic. Beekeepers and farmers are very concerned about the magnitude of the problem. About 40% of the food on our plate depends on pollination. Every year there is a considerable loss in hives and the mortality rate is two to three times higher than before.
The causes of this decline are increasingly known and the most important factor is mostly neonicotinoids. It is the most used insecticide on the planet. Our bees poison themselves by pollinating the flowers in the spaces contaminated by this insecticide.
At the New Brunswick Botanical Garden, several actions have been undertaken to learn more about the subject, to bring the issue to the attention of the community and to raise the awareness of NW Francophone School District (DSFNO) students so they can take part in the solution.
During your next visit, you will be able to observe our bees in action around the apiary. It will be necessary to be careful not to disturb them in their work because foraging all day is their main occupation.
Our very dynamic beekeeper, François, is very caring with our bees and visits the hives regularly to observe the growth of the hive, the presence or absence of disease, intruders around or in hives. If the hive presents overcrowding, he works to enlarge their space. He sees that everything works well to ensure a good harvest of honey at the end of the season. It is also certain that neighboring crops have been well pollinated. His work is extremely important.
If you continue to explore the Garden, you will find a structure that illustrates the roles played by bees in the hive. In a hive, there are three types of individuals: the worker, the drone and the queen. In their life of about 30 to 45 days, each one deals with different tasks. In the illustration below, from left to right, here are the various roles: the cleaner, the caregiver, the architect, the queen, the forager, the ventilator, the hive keeper, the nectar handler.
It is a small society in itself and it offers us a model of organization, hard work, regularity, mutual help and work done to perfection. It is therefore essential to protect them and promote their establishment in our environment, because they are essential to our survival.
What can be done to ensure the survival of bees.
1. Plant flowers, shrubs and fruit trees.
2. Keep the wild flowers, don’t cut them.
3. Discontinue the use of any chemical insecticide.
4. Leave pieces of land untouched.
5. Buy organic food.
6. Buy local honey.
7. Install insect hotels.