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To help our bees, you first have to know them

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So you want to help save the bees? That's great, but first of all, you'll need to get to know your bees.

From a conservation perspective, it's the wild bees as opposed to managed bees that we need to be focusing on. As plant pollinators, they are the ones that do most of the heavy lifting, yet they get the least attention.

Dr. Sheila Colla, a conservation biologist at York University, states many people believe honeybees are wild bees. They are not. Honeybees are for honey production and pollination of some crops, they are not even native to North America. Sheila decries the lack of knowledge about native bees of which Ontario has over 350 species, most of them ground nesters, saying, "even the most avid naturalist groups don't know about the diversity of our wild bees."

Why the confusion about the kinds of bees in need of our help?

Many people became more concerned when beekeepers called for support to fight neonicotinoids (insecticides), "but they made it seem like this was the biggest threat, when in fact it is one of many," Sheila says.

According to Sheila, pathogens from managed bees and diseases spillover are the biggest........

© Peterborough Examiner