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The Buzz

Updated: Jun 15

Newsletter of the Native Bee Society of British Columbia December 2023

Volume 4 | Issue 3


Editors-in-chief: C. Thuring & M. Marriott

Contributors: Sky Jarvis, Christine Thuring, Sarah Johnson, Lynda Stevens, Bonnie Zand

Cover image: Sleeping Wood Carder Bee

photo: Lynda Stevens (see her article in this issue!)

Buzz Straight to Article:


NBSBC Annual General Meeting

Recap by Sky Jarvis and Christine Thuring

On November 20th, 2023, the Native Bee Society of BC held its 5th Annual General Meeting over Zoom. We were blessed to bring together a plethora of Beeple at this event (almost 40!), both to celebrate our fourth year as a Society, and look towards our 5th year ahead. The Society continues to gain momentum in its public education programming, its financial position, and its interconnection with other like-minded organizations. Minutes from the AGM can be found here.

The meeting was run by our wonderful Co-chairs Christine Thuring and Paula Cruise. Secretary supreme, Sky Jarvis, took attendance and kept minutes. Board member, Jen Woodin helped with tech support, and Tamara Litke monitored the chat. Big shout out to our dedicated board who helped run this successful event.


Christine opened with a heartfelt welcome and land acknowledgment. She introduced Bonnie Zand, who gave a thorough "Year In Review” presentation, which highlighted the various tabling events, presentations, and bee walks that members of the Society led in the spring and summer months of 2023. Bonnie also highlighted the BeeTracker Project on iNaturalist, our monthly Native Bee Study Group, and the Master Melittologist program. These initiatives are part of the Society’s commitment to public education on native bee diversity and habitat requirements. You can view a short video of the presentation below.


Next, our treasurer, Nikki Donkersley, gave an eloquent presentation of the Society’s year-end financial report. Notable highlights included the 2023 BC Bee Course, which generated a good chunk of revenue, and a couple of generous donations over the past year. Together, these have placed the Society in a financially stable position, meaning we can continue developing our educational programming and resource development initiatives.


Elections were done via Zoom polls; all positions were uncontested. Check out the profiles of our 2024 Directors here

The Executive Board from the previous year volunteered to remain in their roles for the year ahead. The board of directors and members alike gave a unanimous vote of confidence, having observed how well this group works together and their track record of effectively leading the Society. The executive board for 2023-2024 includes:

Co-Chairs: Christine Thuring and Paula Cruise

Treasurer: Nikki Donkersley

Secretary: Sky Jarvis


Our 2024 board will comprise eight members at large. Returning directors include Bonnie Zand, Maureen Marriott, Lincoln Best, Valerie Huff, Jen Woodin, and Tamara Litke. The Society was pleased to welcome two new board members, Jade Lee and Julia Taylor. We are stoked for the energy and perspective that these individuals bring to our Society. Three directors stepped down: Erin Udal, Lori Weidenhammer, and Marika Ai-Li (founding vice president). We thank each of these bright and dedicated women for their roles in shaping the success of the Society in its early years.

This year our election also included a membership vote, namely to increase general membership fees to $30 per person, and youth memberships to $15 per person. These new membership fees will come into effect for 2024 memberships. One of the driving reasons behind this change in fees was due to the Society becoming an affiliated Nature Club with BC Nature. Although becoming a nature club comes at a cost ($18 per member will be paid to BC Nature for membership and insurance), there are many perks to our membership, including connection to 50+ other like-minded conservation-oriented nature clubs across BC, access to scholarships, and the ability for the Society to direct donors looking to receive tax receipts through BC Nature (a registered charity). If you have been thinking of donating to the society and would like a tax receipt (minimum $ 25 donation) please email us at and we can help facilitate this process.


The chat was populated with a series of bee jokes, such as:

  1. Why do bees hum?

  2. What do you call a bee that's returned from the dead?

  3. What do bees do when their friend moves into a new hive?


The keynote presentation was spearheaded by Lincoln Best, who told a wonderful tale of his adventures bee hunting in western Canada. The colors, shapes, and diversity of bees that he showed as proof of his exploits were truly spectacular! Similarly, the extent of state-wide coverage that he and his Master Melittologist students have documented the bee fauna of Oregon, as part of the Oregon Bee Atlas, is impressive. Linc’s compelling story led directly to announcing the launch of one of the newest Society Initiatives: the BC Bee Atlas!

Modelled after the highly successful Oregon Bee Atlas, Washington Bee Atlas, and Idaho Bee Atlas, a BC Bee Atlas would collect and make publicly available data on the identity, distribution and floral relationships of BC’s nearly 600 species of native bees. This data is essential to understanding where these important pollinators are at risk, and the flowering plants that are necessary to sustain them. By using highly trained community scientists (Master Melittologists) the BC Bee Atlas would collect province wide data, while also training bee ambassadors to communicate to the public about the importance of our native bees and the flowering that they pollinate. Watch this short video to learn more about the approach we plan to take.

If you are interested in supporting our BC Bee Atlas initiative? Send an email to with the subject heading, BC Bee Atlas, and consider joining the fundraising committee. If you would like to make a donation to support this or other NBSBC programs, you can do so here.


After Linc’s talk, Co-Chair, Paula Cruise, gave some member updates, including elaboration on the membership fee increase, previous and ongoing fundraising efforts, and details about our t-shirts. Get ‘em while they’re hot!


The evening concluded with member discussion and closed promptly at 9 pm. Thanks to all who came along and who support the Native Bee Society of BC. Here’s to another productive and colorful year!

Please note that 2023 memberships expire at the end of December. You can renew your membership for the 2023 year here. If you are not sure of your membership status, send us an email at



Sky Jarvis lives, works, and plays in the areas around Kamloops, lands of the Secwepmcw Nation (Shuswap Nation). She is dedicated to creating tangible benefits for her fellow community members through her work with the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, and her involvement with The Native Bee Society of BC, BC Marsh Monitoring Program, and Kamloops Naturalist Club.

Christine Thuring lives, works, and plays on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people, including those of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations. She is an interdisciplinary ecologist who is passionate about biodiversity and healthy communities. She infuses her work on green roofs with her growing knowledge about native bees and pollinators.


The NBSBC's Year in Review

Download a pdf of our Year in Review here:

2023 Year in Review AGM-Newsletter
Download PDF • 2.74MB

Native Bee Study Group: Looking Back

by Bonnie Zand

Wow, a second year of Native Bee Study Group has come and gone! A big thanks to everyone who participated, whether by creating slides, sharing photos, and/ or contributing to the discussion. Each month has a different theme with a “show and tell” format, where participants can create a slide with their photos onto the collaborative Google slides deck (link sent with registration). Experts and complete beginners are welcome!  

While our theme varied by month, the observations shared with the group were always interesting. A few highlights from the year included videos of parasitic bees; a visiting participant with some amazingly coloured Australian bees; stem nesting bees; hibernating queen bumble bees; and ideas for bee-related outreach. A consistent highlight from each session is the amazing diversity of bee photos. Check out some example slides below. 

Credit: Jade Lyf, Lyf is Grand Photography
Credit: Bob McDougall
Credit: Bonnie Zand
Credit: Bob McDougall


Bonnie Zand is a board member of the Native Bee Society of BC, and leads the Native Bee Study Group. When she isn't volunteering for the NBSBC she is a biologist who works with agriculture, insect pests, insect friends, insects at risk and all the ways they intersect!


Mourning our Loss: jasna guy

jasna guy, photo: Lincoln Best

We are deeply saddened that our dear friend, jasna guy, passed away at 5:04 am on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. Jasna was a founding director of the Native Bee Society of BC, and she was present for many of us earlier that week when we hosted our 5th AGM. Her presence was also felt by many the weekend before, when an exhibition of her work was unveiled at the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum on Sunday, November 19.

In lieu of flowers, her family is requesting donations to help continue jasna’s good work, and to thank those who have supported her. We are incredibly grateful that she has requested donations to the Native Bee Society of British Columbia. If you would like to remember jasna with a donation, you can do so here. If you would like a tax receipt, we can arrange this via our affiliation with BCNature, a registered charity. In that case, please email us with the subject heading: jasna guy donation.

jasna's final exhibit "As far as I can gather" is on display at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum until June 2, 2024. 

Listen to The Transformational (Garden) Art of Jasna Guy on the podcast, Cultivating Place.

Visit jasna's website here.

Words from Sarah Johnson, Founding President of NBSBC

jasna was an absolutely amazing woman. She was an integral part of the initial seed of an idea for the Native Bee Society of BC, that bloomed into the beautiful integrative organization that we see today combining art and science into the love and support of native pollinators and their plant relations in British Columbia. 

A small group of us Canadians travelled together to Oregon State University for the first Pacific Northwest Pollinator Symposium in February, 2019, and everyone in the conference was sorted into regional groupings to discuss things that they had been working on and things that needed more investment into the future. The Canadian table was a small group representing a pretty large area, given that the rest of the groups were each for smaller regions within the United States. We were few but held a variety of perspectives… scientists, artists, and enthusiasts with a vision of how far behind we were compared to the US in a lot of different respects, particularly when learning about the land grant universities’ approach to public liaising through a diverse set of extension programs. We were a small but mighty group of friends with divergent backgrounds and a vision of marrying the seemingly disparate worlds of art and biology to connect with people who love native bees and plants throughout the province. jasna had already been tending that beautiful connection in her work for many years prior to that initial societal spark.


Photos 1-4: Lori Weidenhammer, Photos 5-6: Lincoln Best

jasna has always had an incredible mind and eye for detail, which is illustrated in her massive body of work studying the complex relationships between plants and their pollinators through drawing, photography, and a variety of other different forms of careful study. She was constantly watching and noticing things that no one else would ever notice, an intensely productive workhorse of new and beautiful things in a daily practice throughout her entire journey living for many many years fighting an incredibly painful battle against cancer. Even as treatment got more difficult and her “good” days came fewer and further between, she still found joy in watching bees in her garden and creating amazingly beautiful things in her home workshop, connecting with young people and sharing her passion for bees and plants and science and art across the continent. 

She was far more than just her work, though. She was thoughtful, strong-willed, intense, emotional, wise, almost every beautiful and complex adjective that you could ever want in a person. She was an incredible mentor to many, having experienced many joys and many hardships throughout her life that allowed her to connect with and understand many different situations and perspectives. The last time I met with her we shared tea and baked goods in her living room while we talked at length about life and death and bees and plants and my future and her future, though hers was clearly limited, and I feel so grateful to have had that chance to laugh and cry and be together that one last time. She was very concerned for me after I had a rough few years following the unexpected death of my father, and was hopeful and relieved when I told her I had plans to still return to school to finish my PhD and continue my own career focused on a love of those silly little fluffy bees. I will never forget her, and the world is certainly now forever missing an important piece of talent, creativity, and wonder. Love you jasna.



Observation: Sleeping Bumblebees

By Lynda Stevens

Editor’s Note

We love contributions like this! Please get in touch if you have something to share. Apparently Lynda has more videos lined up, so if you enjoyed these videos you might consider subscribing to her YouTube channel.

In 2022, I converted my front lawn to a pollinator garden, replacing it with plants that are native to south-eastern Vancouver Island. I have been amazed by the number and diversity of native bees that have visited my new garden. I love to take note of the flowers they are visiting, and to observe their interesting behaviour.

On cool mornings in late summer and early fall, I began to notice large numbers of bumblebees asleep in my gumweed and aster flowers. After doing some research , I learned that female native bees generally return to their nests overnight. However, since most male bees aren’t involved in nesting activities, they will spend the night in flowers that they also visit during the day.

In the early morning, the plants in my garden are in the shade. I noticed that the bees would be sound asleep until the first rays of sun hit the plants. According to Wilson and Carril (2016), bumblebees can’t take off or fly until their flight muscles are above 80F (26C). While bumblebees do have special adaptations that allow them to be more active than other bees in colder weather, they still need to warm up to initially get going.

Sleeping wood carder bee on self-heal.
Sleeping wood carder bee on self-heal. Photo: Lynda Stevens

The predominant bee that I was seeing was Bombus vosnesenskii, the yellow-faced bumblebee. I learned that other species of native bees also spend the night on plants, both on flowers as well as clinging to stems or leaves. Some species grasp the end of a twig or flower with their mandibles and remain attached to the plant that way until morning. One morning I was excited to find two wool carder bees (Anthidium manicatum) attached to a self-heal flower (Prunella vulgaris) this way. With some other bee species, the males may sleep huddled in groups attached to plant stems, something I have yet to see.

There are a few things to look for which might indicate that a bee is sleeping:

  • the bee is sluggish, not moving or slow to respond to external stimuli (e.g.,  photographer getting very close with their camera);

  • drooping antennae;

  • their legs go limp unless they are needed to hold onto a plant stem or leaf.

Watching sleeping bumblebees became a highlight for me, to the point that it felt like an addiction. Every morning, I made a point of getting out early to see how many I could find. Watching them sleep (and dream?) was a lot of fun, and watching them wake up was even more entertaining! One morning, I decided to make some short videos. Below are two. Enjoy!


Lynda Stevens is an amateur nature and wildlife photographer living in Nanaimo. Bees and native flowers have become some of her favourite subjects to photograph.


Wilson & Messinger. The Bees In Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees.

 Princeton University Press. 2016. 

Buzz About Bees - The Wonderful World of Bees website: Do Bees Sleep? 



Upcoming Events

Wed, Dec 6, 7pm. Bees and Botany Club (Zoom)

Bee and botany nerds unite! On Dec 6 (7-9 pm), we’re pleased to launch the first of a new monthly series, the Bees and Botany Club. Lori Weidenhammer will lead the inaugural sessions by introducing the BC bee plant list project she is spearheading. The format will be a participatory Zoom presentation. For now, just bring your curiosity and your passion and we’ll get this pollinator party rolling! RSVP here. 

Wed, Jan 24, 7pm. Native Bee Study Group (Zoom)

Join the Native Bee Study Group for our January meeting! Our online study group meets on the fourth Wednesday each month (except December) at 7:00 pm via Zoom, hosted by Bonnie Zand. The January meeting will focus on “Bee ID Resources.” Bring your own observations to add to our communal slide deck, or share something with the group you have learned from iNaturalist, books, or elsewhere! This group is open to all levels of bee knowledge. We look forward to seeing you there. RSVP here.

Save the Date: NBSBC Camping Trip June 22-23, Penticton

This will be in conjunction with the 2023 BC Bee Course. Save the date and look for more information in the new year!

Continue to watch our socials (@bcnativebees on Facebook and Instagram) for more upcoming events. If you would like to volunteer at any events, we would love to see you! Reach out by emailing


Plant-Based Foodie: Bee-Inspired Cuisine

Calling all foodies! Native bees rely on plants for their plant-based diets. This column is dedicated to vegan recipes, though you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them! We invite all readers to associate native bees with good food.


Recipe shared by Sky Jarvis

Photo: Geertje Caliguire on Unsplash

A delicious double-baked Italian-style cookie. Perfect for dipping in your coffee/ tea on a cold morning! This is the base recipe, you can play around with different flavors. Here are 3 ideas:

  • 1/4 C cranberry 1/4C pumpkin seed

  • 4tbsp cocoa 1/4C crushed candy cane

  • 1/2 C sliced almonds



2 C flour of your choice

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

2/3 C sugar


1/3 C melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 C applesauce


Preheat oven to 350.Whisk wet and dry ingredients together in separate bowls, then combine the dry bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined. Fold in any additional flavorings (cranberry/ pumpkin seed/coco-candy cane/ almond).

Divide dough in half and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using water to keep fingers moist, smooth and shape the top and sides of the two portions (making two large rectangular-shaped "cookies"). Bake for 25 - 30 mins.

Take out of the oven and let cool for 10 mins before slicing larger rectangular cookies into "biscotti strips." Arrange strips on the baking sheet a couple cm apart. Re-bake for 15 more minutes.


Do you have a vegan recipe to share? It can be anything (snack, main, drink, dessert) and it doesn't have to be fancy. Send it to us via email with the subject heading, “Newsletter: Plant-based Foodie.”


Answers to Bee Jokes from the AGM

  1. Why do bees hum? Because they can’t remember the words.

  2. What do you call a bee that's returned from the dead? A Zombee.

  3. What do bees do when their friend moves into a new hive?  They throw them a house-swarming party.


Connect with us on:


Instagram: bcnativebees

Twitter: @BCNativeBees

Interested in getting involved with the society?

Contact us at:

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