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Friends of the Earth launches “Bumble Bee Count” app for the 3rd Annual Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count!

Monday, July 30th 2018 8:54:50am

The Yellow-banded Bumble Bee, by Brenda VanRyswyk.

July 30, 2018 (Ottawa, Ontario) The 3rd annual “Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count” launches August 1st with a “Bumble Bee Count app” to facilitate  photographing, identifying and locating bumble bees right across the country. For those using a camera, Friends of the Earth’s Census Cards are available.

“Last year we (Friends of the Earth) received more than 2500 beautiful photos and descriptions of bumble bees from all across the country,” said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO Friends of the Earth Canada. “With the launch of our new “Bumble Bee Count app” we’re hoping to receive even more in 2018.”

More than two-thirds of the food crops we depend on benefit from pollination by native bees, honey bees and other pollinators. Bumble bees are especially important - they are capable of buzz pollination making them particularly effective pollinators for certain crops and flowers - including blueberries and tomatoes.

“Bees are facing the same climate challenges you and I face - from heat waves to fires and floods,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO Friends of the Earth Canada. “Add that to exposure to neonic pesticides, habitat loss and pathogen spillover from domesticated bumble bees and Canada’s wild bees are under growing pressures to just survive.”

Photos and observations from the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count help signal changes in how bumble bees are dealing with these issues.

The Rusty-patched Bumble Bee, once abundant in southern Ontario, is now almost extinct and officially designated as endangered. On advice from scientists, the federal government has designated four more native bees for protection under the Species at Risk Act.  Once abundant across Canada, the Yellow-banded Bumble Bee is considered at risk. It has declined in southern Canada by at least 34%.  Scientists report pesticide use, habitat loss, climate change and pathogen spillover from managed bumble bees all contribute to this decline.

“Wild, native bees are our most important pollinators,” says John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth. “We want Canadians to be just as familiar with Yellow-banded bumble bees as they are with Monarch butterflies.”

There are over 800 confirmed species of wild native bees in Canada with little proper monitoring.

For more information, please contact:
Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada
613-724-8690 or beatrice@foecanada.org
John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada
613-291-6888 or johnbennett@foecanada.org

Note to Editors: submitted photographs, location and name of the photographer will be available to the media.
Contact: Erik Stolpmann

Friends of the Earth Canada is the Canadian member of Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.