Published on June 26, 2024

What’s All the Buzzzz About?

St. Albert’s botanical arts city is buzzing with native bees and it is something to bee excited about! 

Bees are important for human survival; they pollinate a variety of plants and improve the overall biodiversity in the community. Ninety percent (90%) of flowering plants need pollination for reproduction. This pollination allows fruiting plants and flowering plants to flourish, which gives herbivores their food and then supports carnivores. They are also responsible for helping put food on the table. One out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat is dependent on a pollinator.

How Can You Bee a Good Neighbour?

Although native bees are seen in the community, populations are in decline due to insecticide use, agricultural intensification, honeybee importation, introduced pathogens and climate change. With bees being so important to everyone’s survival, it is important to get educated on how to help keep populations healthy and thriving.

Here are some easy tips to get you started:

  • If you have native bees in your yard, leave them be so they can pollinate, and their population numbers can increase. Come fall, the bees will have finished their lifecycle.
  • Build or purchase a solitary bee house, which serves as a bee’s permanent home for eleven months and is its nesting site. 
  • Create a pollinator garden in your yard to encourage pollination and to provide bees with a safe habitat. It will also bring color and beauty to your home! Some native flowers and plants include aster, goldenrod, feather reed grass and buffalo bean.
  • Be a little messy with your yard. Some bee species nest underground, so leaves and other light organic material make for a great habitat. 
  • In your garden beds, avoid using weed cloth or heavy mulch and reduce the use of pesticides/herbicides to help preserve the health of bee populations.

A solitary bee house

A bee on a flower

Bee Myths

Here are some popular myths debunked and hopefully they help you live in more harmony with the bees around your yard.

All bees sting? No! 

  • Less than half of native bees can sting. Male bees cannot sting, as the stinger is modified for egg laying. Despite having a stinger, the females of many bee species cannot sting. Most native bees will not sting unless they are provoked or squished. They are more interested in pollen than you!

Adult bees live a long time? No!

  • Solitary bees live for a year, long enough to mate, make nests and produce offspring. They are only active above ground for 3-6 weeks. Worker bumble bees live only 4 weeks, with only the queen surviving to the next season.

All bees live in hives? No!

  • Many bees are solitary and live in individual nests in soil, hollow plant stems or tree trunks. Some native bees are social, such as bumble bees, and will work cooperatively to find food, raise young and defend the nest.

All bees produce honey? No!

  • Native bees do not produce honey like honeybees do.

Read more bee myths

Wild About Wildlife Information Session

In partnership with Sturgeon County, the City of St. Albert held a free virtual information session on May 28 to educate residents on native pollinators.

Dale Ford, Master organic gardener, and Abi Henneberry, a Kindergarten teacher at Lois E. Hole Elementary School, presented in the one-hour long webinar. They shared tips on how to identify native pollinators, explore ways that people can support them and how to educate others about the important role they play in the ecosystem. They also discussed opportunities to engage youth in native pollinator conservation efforts as they become future stewards of the environment.

Watch a video recording of the session below to learn even more about native pollinators!

More Information

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Last edited: June 26, 2024