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The Quarterly Buzz

Updated: Feb 18, 2022

Newsletter of the Native Bee Society of British Columbia October 2021

Volume 2 | Issue 3


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

Contributors: Christine Thuring, Marika van Reeuwyk, Pat Holmes, Lori Weidenhammer, Josh Thompson, Cassie Gibeau

Fly Straight to Article:


Introducing: The Quarterly Buzz

Our New Newsletter Name

by Christine Thuring, Co-editor and NBSBC Secretary

We are so pleased to have a new name for the NBSBC quarterly newsletter! After our first five issues, it became clear that "Quarterly Newsletter for the Native Bee Society of BC" was quite a mouthful. We launched a contest and received numerous fabulous suggestions, including Anthophilings, The Nectar Enquirer, Buzz 4 BC Bees, The BC BeeLine, and BC Melittophiles. Many thanks to all who participated! The selection process involved the Board voting on their favourite 25 submissions, from which the top 3 were shared on social media for a vote from our followers/ membership.

Congratulations to Shira, who submitted the winning name, The Quarterly Buzz, and won a bumble bee nesting box! Shira currently lives in Calgary and is the driving force behind a new venture, The Urban Pollinator Project. This pollinator-focused advocacy project focuses on rewilding the Bow River riparian corridor and was one of over 100 proposals that made it to the finals of the Mayor's Innovation Challenge.


Christine Thuring is a founding board member of the Native Bee Society, and co-editor of the quarterly newsletter from its inception.


Annual General Meeting, Dec 2021

by Marika van Reeuwyk, NBSBC Vice President

It’s hard to believe our third year as a society is coming full circle! Our third Annual General Meeting will be held this December over Zoom. Stay tuned for the date and time.

If you’d like to get involved with the Society, now is a great time to start thinking more about this. Committee volunteers are welcome any time. Board members must be nominated; nominations can be sent via email by Dec 1st.

As ever, our AGM will feature stimulating talks to offset the formalities. Taxonomist and founding board member, Lincoln Best will tell tales of “Weird Wild Bees of BC”, which will appeal to novice and experienced bee enthusiasts alike. As well, founding board members Lori Weidenhammer and Tyler Kelly will share some of the exciting insights and most brilliant submissions they’ve observed on Bee Tracker, a project they’ve initiated on iNaturalist (recall our feature about this in our Summer newsletter). We’ll also provide an overview of upcoming events this fall in Metro Vancouver and the Kootenays.


Seeds to Bees Winter Workshop Series

The Native Bee Society of BC is excited to host a series of workshops this winter related to planting for pollinators. From home gardening to native plant propagation to restoration, learn from experts in the field about different ways you can support pollinators in your community!

Workshop 1: Beginner Seedy Skills for BC Bees

Basic Seed Saving and Growing Tips for Plants that Support Native Bees in Your Garden

Image 1: Agapostemon sweat bee on a cosmos flower. Image 2: Andrena prunorum on buckwheat at UBC Farm. Photos: Lori Weidenhammer

In the first workshop in this series, Lori Weidenhammer, aka Madame Beespeaker, will share fun tips on how to get hooked on saving and growing seeds for plants that provide bees with pollen and nectar. These are empowering skills that can save you money and fill you with the joy of helping create gardens that increase biodiversity. In order to be a successful seed saver and grower, you need to know about the basics of pollination, and which plants are best for saving our BC native bees. Learn how to help bees (along with butterflies, birds, and other critters) by growing plants that a generous seed producers, so you can share them with your friends and family.

Date and time: Thursday, Oct 28, 7:00 pm Zoom link (if you need a call-in number, please email us:


Lori Weidenhammer is a founding member of the NBSBC. She has been fascinated with seeds ever since she was a child in her mother’s prairie garden. She is the author of Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees published by Douglas and MacIntyre. As a food security volunteer and activist, Lori works with students of all ages on eating locally and gardening for pollinators. Lori is originally from Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan the original lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and the homeland of the Métis Nation, and is grateful to live and work in unceded territory of the Coast Salish nations. Lori's web site is Victory Gardens for Bees (

Follow Lori on Instagram @beespeaker


Workshop 2: Native Plant Propagation Techniques

by Joshua Thompson from Plan Bee Native Plants

Native plants are crucial to restoring ecosystems and for supporting native bees as well as all life unique to our part of the world. Learn about the different techniques involved with growing and getting different species of native plants to germinate from seed.

Date and time: TBA Access to the workshop will be shared via social media and an email to our members


Workshop 3: Restoration for Pollination

by Valerie Huff, MSc of Kootenay Native Plant Society & KinSeed

Plant-pollinator mutualisms are a critical ecosystem function that sustain natural habitats and support the food web in terrestrial ecosystems. Pollinators, mainly insects, transport pollen among flowers to ensure the production of viable seed, sustaining native plant communities. Interest is high in supporting these plant-insect interactions through establishing native wildflower meadows. In this webinar, Val will describe how the Kootenay Native Plant Society approaches the question of “What should I plant for pollinators?” in a restoration context. She will guide you through how KNPS developed theirr list of priority plants for the Pollinator Pathway Climate Adaptation Initiative in the Lower Columbia region of British Columbia and provide practical examples and tips for regional restoration interests.

Date and time: TBA Access to the workshop will be shared via social media and an email to our members.


Caring for Cavity Nesters

Strategies and learnings from a seasoned wild bee caretaker

by Pat Holmes


I first met Pat Holmes through my friend and fellow NBSBC Board Member, Martina Clausen when I was looking for some locally sourced bee cocoons to populate a bee hotel built by youth in a program I was leading. Martina connected me with Pat, and I was excited to learn she has a thriving garden and cavity-nesting bee set-up in her backyard in North Vancouver. Pat’s homegrown oasis attracts many diverse wild bees, invertebrates, birds and wildlife. A large population of bees from the Megachilidae family have taken up residence in her homemade bee houses, including mason bees (Osmia spp., her most common residents), leafcutter bees (Megachile spp), and wool carder bees (Anthidium spp).

Pat has been stewarding cavity-nesting bees in her backyard for over a decade. Through research, learning and practice she is constantly trying to better her techniques to minimize time and increase bee health and survival. It's been a welcome gift to exchange learnings with someone who has been working in relationship with cavity nesters for so long. Pat also joined the Native Bee Society of BC membership when we established in 2019!

Pat’s bees came from the wild - she set up some homes and they just moved in. Her husband Andrew kept having to build her more and more homes and cavities to keep up with her growing population. Today, Pat tends to over 1000 cocoons annually between her home residence in North Van and her cabin on Hornby Island. She keeps about 200 at each place then gifts the rest to EYA and other local people interested in starting up their own cavity nesting bee establishments.

Now is the time of year that those of us managing cavity nesting bee homes need to put in the work to mitigate parasitisation and disease, so I asked Pat to share some of her tried and true learnings and techniques with us.

-- Marika van Reeuwyk, NBSBC Vice President

Caring for cavity nesters: strategies and learnings from a seasoned wild bee caretaker

Images: Bee Houses in North Vancouver, Pat Holmes, Bee Houses on Hornby

A year in summary: managing cavity-nesting bee houses

Although cavity-nesting bees are easy to manage, some work is required to keep them healthy and able to continue their valuable work of pollination. Their life cycle allows for flexibility when it comes to cleaning their cocoons and setting up their space for the next year.

Cavity-nesting bees hatch in the spring, usually late March or early April and are mostly finished by mid June. They prefer their houses to be on an east or south facing wall, they need access to flowers of some description and soil and water. In North Van my bees have plenty of fruit trees and shrubs plus flowers but on Hornby they only have the woods and a large maple tree, both areas work well. I set my boxes out in mid March starting at about 4 feet high and they go up to around 8 feet - there are a lot of cats in our neighbourhood and the bees are vulnerable if they are too close to the ground.

I will clean out my bee houses anytime after early November, wash my bee cocoons and keep them safe and cool until the following spring when I set them out to hatch. They can be kept in glass jars with air holes in the lids either in the fridge or an outside garage or shed, preferably north facing and cold. Freezing temperatures don’t seem to affect them but if they get too warm they can hatch early.

[While mason bee (Osmia spp) cocoons are “waterproof”, leafcutter bee cocoons are encapsulated in a brood cell that is “wallpapered” with leaves. This leaf enclosure is not waterproof, so whether or not you wash your mason bee cocoons, it is typical in leafcutter bee cocoon management to simply use a dry toothbrush to remove frass and other debris. Its still important to sanitize trays to protect from fungal diseases].

General mason bee cocoon cleaning practice

Originally I washed my mason bee cocoons in the manner used by the David Suzuki Foundation, using a sieve and mild bleach solution. After time I became disenchanted with this method and felt it was unnatural and difficult to keep the cocoons cool yet dry enough not to get moldy. Also, the mites that cling to the cocoons don’t seem to fully let go in a bleach solution, they are incredibly tenacious.

Now I wash my mason bee cocoons by hand, I inspect the cocoon for any holes or mites and give them a cursory rub with my fingers to remove the brown frass. If they have a hole I discard them and if they have mites I give them a gentle scrub with a small brush or soft toothbrush which is the most efficient way to remove mites. I will keep my unaffected bees separate from the ones that had mites so I can check the mitey ones again before I set them out to hatch.

Cleaning the bee houses has been a time consuming business for me for years but using the compostable cardboard tubes in my wooden houses means that they remain clean and has really reduced my workload.

Three common parasites in cavity-nesting bee houses

As I mentioned before, mason bees are susceptible to mites, which are really interested in the pollen that the bees set in their houses for their larva to feed on. The mites multiply by eating the pollen [left by the female] and the bee larva starves. Then once hatching commences, if the tubes aren’t cleaned, the emerging bees have to crawl through a tube of mites which will jump onto the bees and the whole process begins again.

Another predator that the mason bees face is a parasitic wasp. These small wasps have a large ovipositor, they crawl into the bee tubes and drill a hole in the cocoon with which to deposit their eggs into the bee larva.

If this isn’t bad enough, a new predator from Europe has become prevalent in Vancouver, the houdini fly [Cacoxenus indicator]*. They sit nearby and wait for a female to leave her tube, they then zip in and lay their eggs on the pollen ball and zip out. A houdini fly or 2 can reduce a thriving colony of mason bees to zero in two seasons.

Image 1: Pollen mite infestation in a bee tube. Image 2: Parasitic wasp larvae and dead adults in a bee tube. Image 3: Houdini fly larvae and frass. -- Photos: Pat Holmes

How to protect cavity-nesting bees from parasites

I manage the mites by making sure my bees are clean to begin with every season. Mites are very hard to deal with- I've tried freezing the wooden houses, cooking them in the oven, washing them in water with bleach. The mites survive!! For me, preventing them from getting in to begin with [using the cleaning method mentioned above] is easier.

I manage the wasps by trying to making sure they can’t access the cocoons by traveling sideways down the bee tubes, which is easier said than done. Currently I use cardboard tubes which I get at WildBirds and set a tight fitting paper tube inside them. That way I can reuse the cardboard tube provided it isn’t contaminated at the blind end by mites.

The Houdini fly* is a whole new problem. I’m trying to control them by cleaning out my tubes and when I see their golden strands of frass and their little yellow larva I dispose of them in the garbage. I’ve had them in North Van for about 3 years but haven’t seen them yet at my cabin on on Hornby Island.

Hatching out your bees

It’s lovely to have a wooden hatching box with a hole but so far I just use a sturdy cardboard box with 2 holes for them to crawl out of, set in the upper corners of the box, around the same diameter as their bee tube.

The male bees tend to hatch first, they are very cute with white tufts of hair on their foreheads. They hang about waiting for the females to hatch, some will even sit in the hatching box to grab a female and mate with her before she’s even had a chance to try her wings.


Pat Holmes has had a life-long love affair with bees and started getting serious about mason bees in the last 10 years. A retired nurse, married mother of 4 children and 2 grandchildren, she lives in Lynn Valley. She is a keen gardener and, in recent years, she has become more interested in plants that suit native bees than in showy flowers and shrubs. Her friend, Taren, first introduced her to mason bees over 15 years ago because she was making mason bee houses and selling them at craft fairs and trade shows. She was definitely ahead of her time!


*The houdini fly (Cacoxenus indagator) is a prevalent nest parasite of Osmia bicornis and other bees in the family Megachilidae across Europe. It was recently introduced to the west coast of BC and Washington. The earliest record of the fly in western North America was in 2014 (1), and reports have been increasing in the Lower Mainland and Washington ever since. Read more about how to recognize and control this pest on the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s website.

Read more about mason bees, why they are so fascinating how to support them on the NBSBC blog. is a great resource for learning how to harvest and care for mason and leafcutter bees.


  1. K Needham, Curator, Spencer Entomological Collection, Beaty Biodiversity Museum (personal communication, March 15, 2018).


iNaturalist Bee Tracker Profile: The Western Bumble Bee

by Lori Weidenhammer

First of all, we’d really like to thank those people who are contributing their observations of bees all across the province. It has been fascinating to see what you’ve been seeing! Some of you are really keen and have been developing skills at recognizing the species in your region, which is really helpful. Bumble bees in particular can have regional colour morphs, so eventually we’d like to create a guide to document these variations. Over the fall and winter we hope to take a closer look at the observations—this might mean that the ID will shift to a more specific category, or even change all together.

Please feel free to ask us questions as we wrangle bees into family, genus, and species. In some cases the photo might lack the details we need to be sure of the ID. In other cases even a detailed macro photo won’t work—some species need to be identified as actual specimens under a microscope. These include many of the male bumble bees, which actually have to be IDed by looking at their sexual organs under the scope. (And yes, they have to be dead to do this. I asked the experts about this!) What really helps us is if you carefully crop and sharpen two or three of your best shots of your favorite finds. Also some newbies may not realize you need to confirm whether or not you agree with an ID so that it shifts to a research level ID. I sometimes forget to do this too!

We’d also love it if you added any interesting details you think might be relevant to your favorite observations—especially the plants the bee might be foraging on, the terrain, and any behavior you noted. Thanks again to the folks that are already doing this. (Bonus points for those entering the plant as another observation and putting a link to it on the bee post.) Some of you are still adding photos from earlier dates this year—so please consider these requests as you add your observations.

What are we going to do with this project?

There are so many possibilities! Eventually we’d like to create a guide of the bees of BC, starting with bumble bees because they are easier to ID from photos than smaller species and they are particularly vulnerable to the forces that negatively impact the health of native bees. Any projects that we or other organizations use to enhance or protect bee habitat can use this data to make conservation more efficient. You might wonder why iNat is obscuring the location of your Bombus occidentalis sightings. This is to prevent destruction of nests, spraying, or other nefarious actions. Ironically, this is the same info that may help us protect these bees!

Species Profile:

Bombus occidentalis is a bee that used to be one of the most common bees in parts of Western Canada, but went into a serious and sudden decline after 1998. There are still pockets of locations where it can still be found in healthy numbers, but this is one of the bees we want to study to try to protect its habitat so it can potentially recover from further loss. These species are susceptible to diseases that are spread by managed bees in the agricultural industry. Affectionately known as “the bee with the white butt,” I have gone on a few trips specifically looking for this bee in British Columbia and southern Alberta.

This female western bumble bee has its tongue extended to show its full length.

As a bee with a short tongue, the western bumble bee has the advantage of being able to flourish on many common garden flowers and weeds. I saw a lot of them on Canada thistle this year in Alberta where the drought had dried up many of the native plants. In fact in one area I was photographing the city of Okotoks were spraying the Canada thistles with herbicides. I took action, and phoned and e-mailed the company responsible, but they cited that noxious weeds have to be controlled by provincial law. Since Okotoks has recently been designated Bee City I emailed a staff member and suggested they look into alternative ways of controlling thistle—particularly in areas where Bombus occidentalis is nesting and foraging. Many species of bees and butterflies forage on those thistles, and

some butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves. Stay tuned for more on this story!

Image 1: A bumble bee party on a globe thistle bloom includes Bombus occidentalis. Image 2: A bee sneaks in behind the entrance of a phlox flower to drink nectar from a hole bitten in the long corolla tube. Image 3: Western bumble bees thrive on native alliums, but also this new cultivar Allium ‘Millenium’ is very drought tolerant and long-blooming.

Bombus occidentalis also loves goldenrod! In Old MacLeod Trail Park in Okotoks there was a patch of goldenrod that was particularly busy with a biodiverse collection of insect activity, including western bumble bees. I noted that there were large patches of a couple of long-blooming bee plants nearby: creeping dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) and buck brush (Symphoricarpos occidentalis). There were also some wild roses and a bit of shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruiticosa). The goldenrod was in a depression at the aspen bluff edge, slightly protected from the full heat of the sun. There were also a few patches of Canada thistles, which also helped the bees thrive.

In our Bee Tracker project there have been over a dozen sightings of Bombus occidentalis on Vancouver Island, which is really exciting! A couple of years ago I visited the Gary Oak Learning Garden at the Fort Rodd Provincial Park where I saw them on goldenrod. We happened to visit the garden at Royal Roads University and they were all over the place, particularly the pollinator friendly perennial borders. They were particularly abundant on the globe thistle (Echinops) flowers. I’ve also frequently seen them on pincushion flowers (Scabiosa) and blanket flowers (Gaillardia).

What do they look like?

Bombus occidentalis have two regional populations. The northern subspecies McKay’s Western Bumble Bee (Bombus occidentalis ssp mckayi) and has longer hairs or “pile” as shown in this sighting by Syd Cannings. The southern subspecies are “round” short-hair bees. As with many bumble bees the queens have a couple of colour morphs, but the workers are variable and the males are even more variable! The classic colour morph for a queen or worker is black head, dull yellow “shoulders”, and the rest of the bee is black except for a white “tail”. For more colour variations, The Xerces Foundation has this handy pocket ID card you can print and put in your wallet.

They can be confused with Bombus californicus and B. cryptarum. Sometimes when we receive photographs—parts of the bee is obscured and they can be mistaken for other bees. Bombus californicus is a long-tongued bee with a long “horsey face”. It can have a black abdomen with a yellow stripe on the 4th tergite, but the final 2 tergites will be black. That’s why we ask you to photograph the “tail” of the bee if you can. Bombus cryptarum is actually a bee that is found on many continents –perhaps the bumble bee with the widest range—it is also called the cryptic white-tailed bumble bee. It can have a lemony yellow band on T2 and a white tail much like Bombus occidentalis.

And as for the male western bumble bees—all bets are off. I’ve even found that sometimes the hind leg of male western bumble bees looks a lot like a female’s pollen basket, so they are extra tricky.

So far this year in our Bee Tracker iNaturalist Project we’ve had 48 sightings of Bombus occidentalis and one sighting of McKay’s Western Bumble Bee (Bombus occidentalis ssp mckayi). Here’s a rundown of the plants they’ve been associated with in these sightings:

Common garden plants include: tomato, lavender, purple coneflower, allium, oriental poppy, mealy sage, cherry and apricot blossoms. The weeds they’d bee found on are: dandelion, hairy vetch, wild carrot, Himalayan blackberry, Canada thistle, spotted knapweed, white Dutch clover, ragwort tansy, sweet white clover, pearly everlasting and narrow-leaved plantain. The native plants include: spreading dogbane in the Kootenay-Boundary region; fireweed, pearly everlasting in the Thompson-Nicola, Arctic lupine in Bulkley-Nechako; larkspur leaf monkshood in Bulkey-Nechako; wild bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) in the East Kooteney; and bush penstemon (Penstemon fruticosa) in the Monashee mountains.

So now that we know some of the plants that western bumble bees prefer, we can start to add more native plants into our gardens that help them have healthy and thriving nests.

Further research

  1. Western Bumble Bee Species Page from Xerces.

  2. A list of Gary Oak ecosystem plants for Bombus occidentalis from UVic Social Sciences.

  3. All the sightings listed under Bombus occidentalis on iNat in BC.

  4. Fantastic guide from the University of Calgary that includes many species we have in BC (B. cryptarum is on pg 31): Bumble bees of Calgary.


Lori Weidenhammer is a founding member of the NBSBC. Lori Weidenhammer, aka Madame Beespeaker, has been fascinated with seeds ever since she was a child in her mother’s prairie garden. She is the author of Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees published by Douglas and MacIntyre. As a food security volunteer and activist, Lori works with students of all ages on eating locally and gardening for pollinators. Lori is originally from Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan the original lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and the homeland of the Métis Nation, and is grateful to live and work in unceded territory of the Coast Salish nations. Lori's web site is Victory Gardens for Bees (

Follow Lori on Instagram @beespeaker


Native Bees' Needs

Fall Gardening Tips for Native Pollinators

by Joshua Thompson and Christine Thuring

With the autumn season here and winter soon approaching, the season for pollinators is winding down. There are several things we can do to help our native bees prosper through the difficult months ahead. The great thing, too, is that caring for native bees will also benefit other creatures through the provision of shelter and food. It’s like feeding several birds from the same hand!

To survive the winter, numerous organisms, including bees, use a variety of natural materials that we can help supply. First, the majority of our native bees are ground nesters, which means that they require underground burrows. Next in abundance, many of our native bees are cavity-nesters, for which hollow stems and other cavities are essential for their broods and for overwintering. Below, you’ll find detailed suggestions on what you can do to support these overwintering and nesting needs. At the bottom of this column, we provide a list of late-blooming perennials that can provide pollen and nectar resources at a time when most plants have finished blooming.

Caring for Ground-Nesters: Leave the Leaves

In autumn, ecosystems of the northern hemisphere return nutrients to the soil when deciduous plants lose their leaves. As such, most of the creatures that evolved here rely on this cycle and the associated processes.

Be aware that ground-nester habitat is often found in scruffy patches of lawn, with exposed areas of soil. The layer of leaves that cover the ground every autumn provides important shelter for these and many organisms over the cold months of winter. All sorts of wildlife, including bees, butterflies and other insects, as well as amphibians, rely on this natural build-up of leaves to survive winter. So, unless you require a leaf-free lawn, consider leaving the leaf litter for wildlife.

Numerous native bees are ground-nesters, like this Andrena species. Image: Jens Ulrich.

By providing safe places for insects to overwinter, you are also supporting the food web. When you see birds picking through leaf litter, they are looking for a meal. The more insects we protect, the better we can support the wider ecosystem, particularly during winter when food sources are harder to come by. As if that wasn’t enough, leaving leaves on the ground is a cheap and excellent mulch! By leaving leaves where they fall, you’re allowing them to break down over time, allowing nutrients to be recycled back into soil. This means a richer soil microbial community, as well, and healthier soil overall.

Caring for Stem-Nesters: Consider Long-Term Real Estate

As vividly described above by Pat Holmes, stewarding cavity-nesting bees is a big responsibility. If you want to help out cavity-nesters but aren't keen on the maintenance associated with bee boxes, consider setting up the conditions for bees to take care of themselves! All you need to do is leave natural materials intact and ensure the presence of certain plant taxa.

Plants from the genus Rubus, which includes raspberries, blackberries and salmonberries, are exceptionally good for cavity nesters. Other plants with hollow or pithy stems such as elderberry (Sambucus), hydrangea or upright stonecrops (e.g. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’) provide good nesting opportunities for many native bees.

The genus Ceratina includes many stem-nesting species. Image: LR Best

Rather than cutting dead stems back to the ground at this time of year, we recommend cutting stems to at least 6 inches (15cm) or one foot (30cm) above the ground. As new growth comes up in the spring, the old stems you’ve left may potentially become real estate next spring and summer for bees and other insects! To build their nests in old stems, bees will first clean out the pithy material and then lay the eggs in a series of cells constructed from mud or leaves (similar to images below, from a nesting box).

These cross sections of a bee hotel shows how cavity nesters arrange their larvae into compartments. Image: Jens Ulrich.

With regards to your garden maintenance, be mindful that old stems that do become occupied will contain the next generation of bees. Those fully developed bees will only emerge in spring or summer of the following year, so if you wish to tidy up those stems wait until the following spring and summer. In other words, leave those stems undisturbed over the next winter. Alternatively, stems with overwintering bee larvae may be cut, bundled and moved to a dry shelter. A major issue with this, however, is that concentrating them in this manner can increase the risks of parasites, disease or mold to the overwintering larvae.

Fall blooms

Floral resources start to get scarce at this time of year, as the amount of blooming plants dwindle. Nevertheless, there are still a few late-blooming plants that can be excellent additions to your garden or yard, which continue buzzing with bees and other pollinators well into the fall.

Here is a quick and easy list of fall-flowering plants that are great for native bees:


Joshua Thompson established PlanBee Native Plants in order to make native plants more accessible and to support our local pollinators and wildlife. He is a new board member of the Native Bee Society.

Christine Thuring is a plant ecologist with a passion for enhancing conditions for biodiversity. She has always considered bees her primary clients and is a founding board member of the Native Bee Society.


Book Review: The Thing About Bees

review by Cassie Gibeau

The Thing About Bees - a Love Letter by Shabazz Larkin

"...a love poem from a father to his two sons, and a tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat."

This beautifully illustrated and poetic book delivers a conversation from a fearful father to his sons. The father, Shabazz, explains why bees are important and why we should care deeply about them. Reading this book is a great way to start conversations about all things having a purpose and being connected, and about being brave and how scary creatures can also be important and lovable.

The publisher, Readers to Eaters, publishes books that “give a fresh and fun perspective on what we eat and how we eat through good stories, beautiful writing, and a deep appreciation of food cultures.

If you are at the beginning of your journey to learn about bees, or if you are feeling a little bit fearful, we encourage you to start with Shabazz Larkin’s The Thing about Bees.


Cassie Gibeau is the co-owner and coordinator of Education and Outreach at Honeybee Centre, in Surrey BC. She runs educational programming for all ages (primarily children), and is passionate about the environment and pollinators. Cassie is a Board member of the Native Bee Society, and co-chairs the Outreach & Education Committee.


NBSBC Quarter in Review

The pandemic and provincial health orders toned down our usual and preferred outreach activities. Following are a few engagements by the Native Bee Society of BC.

On May 26, board member, Valerie Huff gave a Zoom workshop for the Kootenay Conservation Program titled, "Conservation Ambassador Training: Stewarding for Plant and Insect Biodiversity".

On September 23, board member Jens Jensson gave a Zoom webinar for the Deep Cove Garden Society titled, "Native Bees and how to help them in our gardens".

On October 24, board member Lori Weidenhammer gave an interview to Radio-Canada for its feature on the importance of leaving the autumn leaves on the ground, "Quatre raisons de laisser les feuilles mortes au sol"


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Twitter: @BCNativeBees

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