Seán   Pollinator Week: BC Bees & Wanna-bees

A bumble bee sipping at camas A happy bumble bee enjoying the offerings of a camas / kwetlal flower

A couple of months ago, Kate and I officially became certified pollinator stewards thanks to Island Pollinator Initiative's wonderful webinar series! The first session enlightened us about the importance of pollinators to food production and biodiversity, with a special focus on BC's native bees.

A few takeaways:

Here's a look at a handful of the many pollinating insects which we managed to catch on camera around the Hill last year. Bee species are very hard to identify definitively with photos, so I'll try my best to distinguish them broadly by group until I learn otherwise:

Bees

An as-yet unidentified bumble bee on a harebell flower

A rather small bee (perhaps a sweat bee?) enjoying blooming camas

We love lavender and this fluffy bumble bee does too!

A couple of bumble bees investigating the foxgloves – an introduced plant which seems to be currently listed as abundant but not invasive in BC

Check out the sumptuous pollen basket on this bumble bee! Bees love cotoneaster flowers, but we're planning to replace this shrub due to its invasive potential

Yet another variety of bumble bee enjoying Spanish bluebells – a beautiful, but potentially problematic introduced flower

Wanna-bees

 A bumble bee (this fuzzy hoverfly fooled me! The giant eyes and tiny antennae are clues to its true identity) gathering pollen from a Nootka rose

Another variety of hoverfly basking in the sun

Our fuzzy friend Bombylius diving into purple rock cress – an introduced, but seemingly not invasive perennial

Though they get a bad rap, wasps are also important pollinators. This ichneumon wasp may look scary, but is not aggressive and is harmless to humans (that long needle at its rear is not a stinger – it's called an ovipositor and is used to lay eggs)

Other pollinating insects

A Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly enjoying the blissfully-fragrant mock orange

Woodland skipper And last but certainly not least, the extremely cute woodland skipper also plays a role in pollination

We're gradually incorporating a more diverse range of pollinator-friendly plants into the landscape here as we continue to learn more about these amazing insects' food and habitat needs. You can follow along with our pollinator gardening research through our growing Are.na collection.