The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

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image_numbers_bee-countFriends of the Earth, in collaboration with the scientists from Bumble Bee Watch, will deliver the second Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count from July to August 2017.

Just like governments need a census to know what’s happening with its citizens, as well as their homes, families and jobs, we think bumble bees need their own census.  Not enough is known about wild, native bees in Canada, and what scientists do know is worrying.

 

GCBBC_deserveprotection@2xWhy Count Bumble Bees?

Bumble bees, some 40 kinds in Canada, are iconic, native bees and important pollinators.  As many as one-third of North American bumble bee species are in decline. 

In Canada, we already have one officially designated endangered bee, the Rusty-patched bumble bee last seen in 2009 in Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend, Ontario. 

Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee. Photo credit: Sheila Colla

Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee. Photo credit: Sheila Colla

There are now six wild bee species determined to be critically at risk (assessed by scientists with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). They need protection by governments.  And, if you find one of the six bumble bees listed, please take a picture and record it under the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count project code at bumblebeewatch.org. It will help scientists determine where and how best to protect them.

  • from Nova Scotia, the Macropis Cuckoo Bee
  • from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Western Bumble Bee occidentalis
  • from the Yukon, Northwest Territories and British Columbia, the Western Bumble Bee mckayi 
  • from all over Canada, the Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee
  • from Nova Scotia, the Sable Island Sweat Bee
  • from Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Yellow-banded Bumble Bee

These bees are still waiting to be officially listed under the Species at Risk Act to trigger protection and recovery work. Friends of the Earth and other groups are advising the federal Environment Minister to act now. 


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Why is the Bumble Bee Count important?

• Bumble bees are widely distributed and a lot of volunteers are needed to assist with observations

• Helping scientists gather information on distribution and populations trends

• The information gathered helps to determine the status and conservation needs in Canada

 

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About Bumble Bee Watch

Bumble Bee Watch is a citizen science project founded by Wildlife Preservation Canada, York University, the University of Ottawa, the Montreal Insectarium and the Xerces Society.

Bumble Bee Watch is supported by a team of volunteer bumble bee experts that verify the identification of every sighting submitted.

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