TORONTO, May 19, 2020 – As people flock to garden stores to start freshening up their winter tired yards and gardens, it’s a good time to think of bee-friendly plants, especially as May 20 is World Bee Day, says Assistant Professor Sheila Colla, an expert in native bees and conservation.
Flowers, such as black-eyed Susans, serviceberry, purple coneflowers, as well as milkweeds and various kinds of legumes are all good choices for attracting pollinators. But the ground is also important to many native bees who like to nest and overwinter in the soil or old plant stalks.
“Providing native flowering plants in your garden can help native wild pollinators, but also helps the sustainability of our natural ecosystems and urban food security,” says Colla, who leads the Conservation Science Lab in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES). “We rely on pollinators to pollinate our crops as well as our vegetable, flower and community gardens, but many of our bumble bees are in decline.”
With the current pandemic, many city dwellers may be considering planting vegetables for the first time. Whether it is in their yard, a community garden or in pots on their balconies, these gardens can help support pollinators by providing biodiversity, as well as food.
And as the coronavirus continues to limit social interactions, Colla suggests people consider planting resilience gardens to increase mental wellness, while providing nutrition and plants for pollinators.
To learn more about bees and other pollinators, the Faculty of Science and FES are hosting a free Q&A, The Buzz on Bees on World Bee Day, from noon to 1:30 pm. It will feature some of York’s top bee experts, Professors Amro Zayed, Laurence Packer, Sandra Rehan and Colla from the Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation group, and is moderated by York alumna World Wildlife Fund-Canada President Megan Leslie.
Colla can discuss the following:
- What are some of the best plants to attract pollinators?
- How is the ground just as important to native bees?
- How pollinators contribute to food security and biodiversity
- Current threats to bees, including Asian giant hornets, known as the “murder hornet”
- How pollinators contribute to sustainable development
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