Renowned bee scientist Lincoln Best will be in Invermere on Friday, October 6th to discuss the habits and habitats of East Kootenay native bees.
This promises to be a very interesting talk, and people from Kimberley may want to take a trip up the valley to take it in.
Best has been conducting research on bees in B.C. for the past 15 years. He studied Zoology and Ecology at the University of Guelph before continuing completing his graduate research at York University, where he focused on the distribution natural history and genetics of bees in B.C..
“What better subject to study than native bees,” said Best. “It slowly became an obsession of mine.”
Best came to B.C. in 2008 for a season of work, where his obsession grew, and from there he conducted the largest survey of the biodiversity of bees in Canada.
“B.C. is known for having the highest biodiversity,” said Best. “I used that as a launching pad for my graduate research.”
On Friday, October 6, Best will host a public lecture that introduces the native bees of the East Kootenay. He will talk about the diverse habitats of bees, conservation and what people can do to create, enhance and preserve bee habitats. He will also discuss several case studies of bees that are only found in East Kootenay.
The Friday night presentation is at 7 p.m. at the Wilmer Community Hall in Invermere; entrance by donation. There is also a day-long workshop on Saturday, October 7 with hands on activities such as looking through microscopes at different bees species and building a take-home native bee house.
“I love talking about bees, I can go forever,” Best said. “For the last four years I have been networking with the public and groups of people who are interested in nature conservation and the relation of nature to our lives. Networking with and educating the public is really enjoyable for me. I think people are really passionate about it and love the information.”
Best says there are a few challenges that he and Wildsight face when hosting a public presentation as such.
“The East Kootenay has a small population base which makes it challenging to host such a specialized presentation,” Best said. “The funding for research is hard to gain and there are so few people marketing this topic. I am looking forward to meeting people and talking with them. We still have so much to learn.”
For example, Best says that there are hundreds of different species of native bees in the East Kootenays and flora and fauna that bees pollinate from.
“It takes a long time and a lot of help to bring our knowledge to that,” said Best. “B.C. has almost no historical data on native bees, there are so many species that only visit one kind of flower or one or two flowers that are similar. One flower might attract 40 different species of bees. That’s where we get to the nitty gritty of how to make a conservation plan.”
Best says that bees and other pollinators/insects provide an important eco function in the East Kootenay.
“We can look at it from a plant perspective and we can look at it from a bee perspective,” explained Best. “The biodiversity of native plants require many generalist and some specialist pollinators, while the biodiversity of pollinators require an abundance of common plants, but also specific suites of plants to support the incredible diversity of bees species. So, it’s important when designing plantings for native bees to consider native plants that support a high diversity. Generally, pollinators are important and so is a diversity of pollinators. Bees are generalists so they can visit many flowers, so it’s not as critical to have such a large diversity of plants. It’s those ecological relationships that allow us to make more informed decisions.”
For more information visit the Invermere Events page on wildsight.ca.