New video shows how to ‘bee’ friendly

Without bees, we wouldn’t have coffee to drink at breakfast, tomatoes in our sandwich at lunch or fruit for a snack on the go.

While bee populations all over the world are in trouble, there are lots of things individuals can do to create bee-friendly gardens – even if your personal green space is limited to a condo balcony.

Here’s Professor Laurence Packer from York’s Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science & Engineering on what you can do to help the world’s bees in your backyard:

Packer travels the world tracking many of the 19,500 described species of wild bees. While his perspective is international, Packer’s backyard is a great example of a bee-friendly space and is featured in the video. He is also the author of Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them (Harper Collins Canada, 2010). All proceeds form his book will be directed toward bee conservation research.

In 2010, Packer was featured on CBC’s “The Nature of Things”, hosted by David Suzuki. The episode, “To Bee or Not to Bee”, highlights dramatic declines in North America’s wild bee and honey bee populations, and explores what the disappearance and decline of these insects tells us about larger ecological problems. The episode is also available for download on the CBC website. Packer’s segment runs from the 3:30 mark through to 6:30.

PhD student Jason Gibbs, who works in Packer’s laboratory and has collaborated with him on research publications, also recently made national news headlines by documenting 19 new bee species, one of which he discovered during his commute from downtown Toronto to York University.

Packer’s research is funded by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

By Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer