This report summarizes two years of data collected by citizen scientists on local pollinator insects. The final recommendations and conclusions are presented below. The full report is here: Pollinator Report
Report written by: Megan Abbott. Edited by Dr. Lyn Baldwin, Elaine Sedgman and Brenda Sanden
The City of Kamloops is a bee city. The council has made a declaration to “protect pollinators and their habitats through action and education.” With that declaration comes responsibility.
Therefore, our citizen scientists recommend that the City of Kamloops:
- 1. Protect existing nesting sites and provide additional nesting opportunities. 70% of our bee species are solitary ground nesters. Each bee species has its own requirements, such as packed sandy loam or soft fluffy earth.
- 2. Place nesting boxes for cavity nesting bees in our parks.
- 3. Provide adequate three-season pollinator friendly forage for bees. Bees need a continuous succession of plants high in pollen and nectar throughout the growing season. Different species emerge from their nests at different times of the year.
- 4. Plant more native shrubs and flowering plants. Research shows that specialist bees require the flowers with which they have evolved.
- 5. Provide pollinator corridors and bee friendly hedgerows using native plants between various garden beds. Solitary bees are small and are unable to fly long distances.
- 6. Enhance and enlarge existing bee habitat, expanding it by 5 hectares.
But most importantly, we recommend that the City of Kamloops embed the protection of bee populations within its landscape management decisions. This would include a written policy and a plan to protect and enhance pollinators.
Policies would include such guidelines as procurement of plants from greenhouses that do not use systemic pesticides. Another is that the city uses good IPM practice for weed control using cultural, mechanical and biological methods, therefore cutting its glyphosate use. Two recent studies suggest that exposing honey bees to glyphosates disrupts their gut bacteria and makes the bees more susceptible to infections.
The City of Kamloops is a fantastic manager of turf. Citizen scientists encourage the City of Kamloops to put the same energy into giving pollinators a chance: planting and maintaining pollinator friendly flowers and enhancing and expanding their nesting sites whether they are in our natural areas or in a container at the Sandman Centre.
This project gathered important information regarding pollinator abundance and diversity in a variety of habitats around Kamloops. It also served as an important collaboration between experts and citizen scientists within the community. Engagement to this degree provides a holistic approach to topical environmental issues. Involving individuals at many different levels of experience is vital to finding realistic and effective solutions to loss of pollinators worldwide. Citizen scientists’ understanding and awareness of native bees makes them excellent ambassadors for these important creatures.
Data collected during the summer season of 2018 indicated that although cultivated gardens rich in floral genera provide important habitat and forage for pollinators, they support different guilds of pollinators than do uncultivated areas. Ultimately, supporting pollinator populations within the city of Kamloops will rely upon the following:
a. Creating pollinator habitat throughout the City by providing a continuous succession of bee friendly flowers throughout the three seasons,
b. Increasing the use of local native plants as bee forage in our gardens and maintained city parks,
c. Identifying, protecting and enhancing existing native plants that host pollinators within natural areas,
d. Providing appropriate nesting sites for the hairy belly bee guild, which are cavity nesters,
e. Protecting existing nesting sites and providing additional nesting areas for ground nesting solitary bees especially within managed parks, and,
f. Providing pollinator forage corridors such as bee friendly hedgerows between various garden beds.
It is important to note that our observations of pollinator guilds, such as “hairy belly bees” or “pollen pants bees”, are not the same species throughout the summer, as different solitary bee species are active during distinct periods of the summer. Native solitary bees usually only fly for two or three weeks. While citizen science projects, such as this one can identify morphologically distinct functional groups or guilds; understanding the full pollinator biodiversity present in Kamloops will necessitate a higher level of identification through collection of insects and laboratory taxonomic identification.
We are therefore expanding our scope in 2019. We will carry out citizen science monitoring protocols during three group pollinator surveys within the grasslands of Kamloops. But, at the same time we will complete pollinator biodiversity surveys with standard entomological trapping techniques. A comprehensive survey of pollinators in our area would require spring, mid-summer and late summer trapping effort in order to account for seasonal variation in pollinator life cycles.
With the continued support from the City of Kamloops, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and partners, we hope to collect baseline pollinator guild abundance data for one more year. This will give us an increased ability to assess variability in pollinator abundance while continuing to raise local awareness of pollinator importance.
Special thanks to all of our citizen scientists: Megan Abbott, Teresa Atkinson, Charyle Badesso, Lyn Baldwin, Sherry Bennett, Estelle Bérubé, Dianna Chalmers, Basia Drozdz, Maureen Embury, Cheryle Goodfellow, Phyllis Mader, Brenda Sanden, Elaine Sedgman, Deb Stowell, Rick Tucker, Leslie Welch