GFM Network News


Disappearing natural habitat threatens bees’ diet

Disappearing natural habitat threatens bees’ diet

Maintaining pockets of nature among cropland allows bees to thrive on a balanced diet, says beekeeper Ian Steppler

Cropland’s encroachment on nature threatens to starve bees and pollinators, beekeeper Ian Steppler told those at a Manitoba Conservation Districts Association conference on December 4. “Where we find a balance within our countryside between agriculture and nature is where we find tremendous growth and prosperity,” Steppler said. Why it matters: Bees and other pollinators are

Wild bees like this aren’t exactly like honeybees when it comes to how they react to pesticides in the environment.

Wild bees need stronger pesticide regulation

Pesticide regulations designed to protect honeybees fail to account for potential health threats to the full diversity of bee species that are even more important pollinators

Pesticide regulations designed to protect honeybees fail to account for potential health threats posed to other, even more important pollinators, according to a trio of research papers from the University of Guelph. As the global human population grows, and as pollinators continue to suffer declines caused by everything from habitat loss to pathogens, regulators need


Attendees of an Aug. 30 field tour at the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives site north of Brandon explore pollinator-friendly seed mix, including a swath of 
purple blooming phacelia.

Pollinator seed mixes tailor made

Just like cattle and hogs benefit from the right rations, bees can benefit from the right mix of flowering plants

What’s good for the bumblebee may not be good for the honeybee. That was the message as the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives dug into pollinator-friendly seed mixes Aug. 30 during its Brookdale site field tour. “You want to have something that’s going to grow and, depending on how much time they have, legumes in

This summer will be the first producers across Western Canada can access free seed for pollinator-friendly plants through Operation Pollinator.

Bringing back flowers to the field

Operation Pollinator is asking producers to set aside two acres for pollinator-attracting plants this summer

An initiative to increase biodiversity and pollinator habitat on golf courses is making its large-scale farm debut this summer. Operation Pollinator, spearheaded by Syngenta, was introduced in Canada in 2012 after first appearing in the United Kingdom over a decade ago. The program first approached golf courses, providing seed for out-of-play areas to be planted

Melanie Dubois, an AAFC senior riparian and biodiversity biologist at the Brandon Research and Development Centre, displays some of the native bees she’s collected in her research into their habitat requirements.

Pollinator support program coming to Manitoba this summer

The North America-wide initiative between General Mills and the Xerces Society aims to establish 3,000 acres of pollinator habitat in Manitoba 
by 2021. The program will host demo workshops here this summer

Native bees play a crucial role in a healthy environment but they need our help. That’s the message an Agriculture Canada staffer had for farmers and other rural landowners meeting here earlier this month. Melanie Dubois is a senior riparian and biodiversity biologist, based at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Brandon Research and Development Centre, who


A lygus bug prepares to wreak havoc on a canola plant.

Shining a light on the creepy crawly side of agriculture

Entomologist John Gavloski is warning producers to maintain beneficial bugs found in crops

Not all bugs are made equal and entomologist John Gavloski is warning producers of “collateral damage” in their beneficial insects. “Certainly we’ve got insects that feed on the crops, but we’ve also got a lot of beneficial insects that feed on those insects that feed on the crops and when those are numerous, often the

An apiarist covers beehives on a truck after his bees completed pollinating a blueberry field near Columbia Falls, Maine in June 2014. Honeybees are estimated to pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the food consumed by Americans, including apples, watermelons and beans.

Vital to food output, pollinators face rising risk

A new global study explores the concerns over pesticides and loss of habitat

Bees and other pollinators face increasing risks to their survival, threatening foods such as apples, blueberries and coffee worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year, the first global assessment of pollinators showed on Feb. 26. Pesticides, loss of habitats to farms and cities, disease and climate change were among threats to about 20,000 species

Most bee deaths from neonics in Canada have been in the intensive corn-growing areas of Ontario and Quebec.


No neonic ban expected in the West

In Ontario, the treatments won't be allowed in 2017 unless a demonstrated need exists

Restrictions on neonicotinoid-based pesticides in Ontario have generated concerns amongst grain farmers in the province, but Manitoba industry participants don’t expect similar policy to move west any time soon. Laws restricting neonicotinoid-pesticide use were introduced in July. The Grain Farmers of Ontario had hoped to enact a stay on the regulations through court proceedings, but


bee on a flower

Surprisingly few ‘busy bees’ make global crops grow

Conservation of wild pollinators can’t be based on economics alone

A major international study published in Nature Communications, suggests that only two per cent of wild bee species pollinate 80 per cent of bee-pollinated crops worldwide. The study is one of the largest on bee pollination to date. While agricultural development and pesticides have been shown to produce sharp declines in many wild bee populations,

bee on a white flower

Growing a 4-H garden you can ‘Bee Proud’ of

4-H clubs can get free seeds to 
plant pollinator-friendly gardens

4-H Canada and Syngenta Canada have announced the second year of Proud to Bee a 4-H’er, an initiative where 4-H club members learn about bees and other pollinators by planting and tending pollinator-friendly gardens. Participating 4-H clubs will create bee-friendly habitats using Proud to Bee a 4-H’er bee-friendly seed packets. 4-H clubs that register for