Towns urged to make a buzz

Municipalities can help beleaguered pollinators with their decorative plantings

One way that municipalities can help beekeepers on Vancouver Island can help struggling bee populations is to take their needs into account when they’re doing their summer decorative plantings, says Carolyn Jordan.

Speaking at a special Pollinator’s Picnic at Nanoose Edibles farm on Sunday, the local farm consultant said towns and cities usually think mostly of the visual aesthetic when deciding on which flowers to plant, rather than considering how they might impact honeybees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.

“We need to lobby them. We need to e-mail them,” she said. “We need to start a conversation with our local councillors and make them aware of what we need to change in order to promote pollination and to provide habitat for pollinating insects.”

As an example, she cited the City of London, which created a large park for the Olympic Games and seeded it largely with natural flowers — which are used by area insects for their nectar and pollen.

“It was hugely successful,” she said. “It really created a buzz and started the conversation.”

As well, she said municipalities can make sure they leave habitat, such as old stumps and flower heads, which are used by insects as they ride out the winter season.