It might be winter but Calgary is Canada's newest Bee City

Calgary's application to be designated a Bee City has been accepted, making it the third municipality in Alberta to gain the moniker.

Designation has one city councillor buzzing with excitement

Calgary has been designated as a Bee City. It's the 36th city in Canada to receive the designation. (Getty Images)

Maybe it's because it was her idea. But Coun. Druh Farrell is thrilled Calgary is now a Bee City.

Following a council approved application to Bee City Canada, Calgary is now Canada's 36th bee-friendly burg.

Farrell said to get approved, a city has to prove that it has good cooperation among its departments and that it's working actively to improve habitat spaces for bees and other pollinators.

Calgary already has a couple of bee boulevards where wildflowers and native grasses were planted to attract bees.

It has placed bee boxes in various parts of Calgary to provide safe places to stay.

The city is also experimenting with naturalizing areas. Types of grasses that aren't native to Calgary have been torn out and replaced with local grasses and wildflowers.

The city intends to do more to educate Calgarians about what they can do to attract and protect pollinators.

Calgarians can help

"If you plant it, bees will come," said Farrell.

She took that advice to heart. She planted a variety of flowers in her garden and last year, she noticed the difference in made in attracting several types of bees.

Gypsy cuckoo bumble bee on a flower
The gypsy cuckoo bumble bee, or bombus bohemicus, has seen a decline in population over the past 30 years in Canada and was added to the endangered list in May 2014. It was spotted in Calgary in recent years. (Ivar Leidus/Wikimedia Commons)

"It's really pretty," said Farrell. 

"I just sat in my garden and watched and would film them and post them on Instagram. There's interesting little interactions that would happen."

Farrell said Calgarians can do their part as well. Besides planting flowers and giving bees room, they can just put out water to help the pollinators.

"Bees can be thirsty and they can run out of steam. They would drink … revive and then fly away."

As part of its application to become a Bee City, the City of Calgary committed to doing three hands-on educational events annually.

It will also collaborate on habitat research with the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University.

Besides Calgary, the only other Bee Cities in Alberta are Airdrie and Chestermere. 


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