Let's help our bees survive till spring, Regina beekeeper says

A Regina beekeeper is recommending several different plants that fellow apiarists can plant early to help bees survive through to April and May.

Yens Pedersen says some early planting can help bees get through to spring and summer

There are specific plants you can grow to help bees survive, the Regina and District Bee Club says. (Andy Duback/The Associated Press)

Mild March weather could bring out the bees. So what's the best way to keep the little pollen spreaders safe if the weather changes?

Yens Pedersen, a spokesman for the Regina and District Bee Club, has some suggestions.

With record-breaking temperatures and signs pointing to an early spring, he's recommending several different plants that fellow beekeepers can plant early.

The goal would be to help bees survive through to April and May, in case a cold snap or two hits the province.

Pedersen says that vegetables and herbs are good bee plants, along with single flowers.

"Things like daisies, sunflowers, poppies, holly hocks and marigolds," he said. 

Pedersen also recommended perennial shrubs, like single-rose shrubs.

If we were to get a cold snap right now, they could go through their food supplies a lot quicker if they're raising brood.- Yens Pederson, Regina and District Bee Club

The early warm weather, like the record-breaking temperatures parts of the province saw this past weekend, can potentially confuse bees, whether they're wild or domesticated honeybees, he said.

Specifically, they can start raising their brood, or larvae, early. 

"If we were to get a cold snap right now, they could go through their food supplies a lot quicker if they're raising brood," he said. 

As for feeding bees now, Pedersen said it depends. "It's a little bit of a judgment call. I did end up feeding mine because they were a little low on feed and they have started raising brood."

"There's not much you can do without the snow. You just hope your bees are going to make it and take advantage of a warm day like yesterday," he said.

Honeybees are crucial for pollinating flowers, but they're vulnerable to turns in the weather at this time of year. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)

Honey bees and wild bees are really important for pollination, he said. The issue now is that there's approximately 100 different species of of wild bees in the province, and they're potentially under threat from a shrinking habitat. 

"The more we can help them out with what we're planting in our yards, that helps them with their habitats," he said. 

Tonight at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, renowned bee expert and researcher Laurence Packer will be giving a talk and bee diversity and their importance to the environment. It starts at 7 p.m. CST.


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