Pollinator population on a steady decline: how you can help

Experts say bee, butterfly and black fly populations are dropping — but some Sudburians are trying to boost their numbers.
Noel Shank has been a bee keeper of more than 30 years in Sudbury. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)
Experts say bee, butterfly and black fly populations are dropping — but some Sudburians are trying to boost their numbers.

Noel Shank, who sells man-made bee hives, said he's been selling so many of them at his place in Hanmer that he's lost count.

Shank said he thinks it's because people are finally starting to notice that pollinators are in trouble.

"Without pollination, food will be getting rare."

Fewer pollinators could spell trouble for our food and plants. Honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, moths and flies have been steadily declining. (Leif Richardson)

A plant scientist at Laurentian University told CBC News pesticides and herbicides are mostly to blame for the decline of these pollinators.

And while Peter Beckett said bee keeping can help reverse the trend, it's only allowed in rural and industrial areas of Sudbury. The city says there are currently no plans to change the bylaw.

There are other ways people can help pollinators, Beckett noted.
Peter Beckett, plant scientist at Laurentian University, says pesticides and herbicides are mostly to blame for the decline in pollinators. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

"Using native plants, which require a lot less fertilizer and, in fact, are great for the pollinators," he said.

Beckett said anything that can be done to feed pollinators will sustain their population for the years to come.

Science North staff scientist Jenny Fortier agreed that bee keeping and growing native plants will boost their populations, but she also noted people should stop obsessing over their grass.

"If you've got a perfectly manicured lawn, that's not attractive to [pollinators]," she said.

"Limit or completely eliminate your use of insecticides."

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