Citizen scientists installing wild bee hotels, helping U of T bee researchers
TORONTO — Today, the David Suzuki Foundation launched the second annual Bees in My Backyard (BIMBY) project. Up to 150 Toronto households will join the citizen science project and create “wild bee sanctuaries” in their yards, including special bee hotels for cavity-nesting bees, like mason and leafcutter bees.
The joint project with the University of Toronto-Scarborough’s Department of Biological Sciences will provide valuable data in the effort to help some of the more than 300 species of wild bees in Toronto.
“Urbanization has traditionally been viewed as a bad thing for bees, but cities like Toronto and its citizens could actually hold the key to changing this perspective,” said Scott MacIvor, assistant professor at the University of Toronto-Scarborough and lead BIMBY researcher. “If we’re intentional in our urban planning, and support conservation efforts of all sizes and scales, we can protect many of the pollinators we depend on.”
Climate change, pesticide use and habitat loss have all contributed to the insect decline in Canada and around the world. According to a recent study, more than 40 per cent of insects are at risk of extinction within 100 years, prompting fears of an “insectaggedon.” Yet bees and other insects have never been more important. Thirty-five per cent of the world’s crops and the majority of flowering plants depend on pollination.
“Wild bees, like most flying insects, have taken a hit over the past several years,” David Suzuki Foundation BIMBY project manager Jode Roberts said. “Through citizen science and simple actions like planting wildflowers, we can all help bring bees back from the brink.”
Toronto residents who take part in BIMBY will receive a custom-made BIMBY bee hotel for their backyards. They will also receive training on how to identify wild bees, maintain their bee sanctuaries and record and submit data for researchers every two weeks. The fee to participate is $125 per household.
Toronto residents wishing to participate in the BIMBY project can visit www.davidsuzuki.org/bimby.
– 30 –
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
The David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.