Somewhere in North America, a bee is working hard to put food on your plate.
That’s the message Orillia Bee City wants to help spread about reviving bees, which are critical pollinators.
“Pollinators are everywhere; they don't just stop at city limits,” said Matt Thomson, a steward of Orillia Bee City. “They're all in our natural spaces, and we've got lots of natural spaces in and around the City of Orillia and Severn Township.”
The Severn Township resident and other Orillia Bee City members were at Severn Township Monday morning to designate the municipality as an official "Bee City."
“I think it’s great and wonderful,” said Mayor Mike Burkett. “There isn’t enough education about what bees do. They play such an important role in our ecosystem. Without bees, where would we be today?”
Thomson said he travels the region quite a bit on his bicycle, which gives him a chance to observe a lot of pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.
But with bees rapidly disappearing, pollination is suffering, said Thomson.
“Those are valuable food sources for birds and other animals that like to forage for food,” he said. “If you don't have the bees pollinating these flowers, there aren't any fruits available for them. Then the whole food chain suffers.”
Through this initiative, the group hopes to educate people, especially kids about the significance of bees.
“They're safe,” he said. “They're minding their own business. They're foraging for nectar. They're not interested in you, unless you have something sweet on you.”
The group will be heading to Orillia Secondary School Monday afternoon to talk about reducing the stigma that bees are stingers.
“If a bee lands on you, just remain calm,” said Thomson. “It'll just check out things and be on its way. We don't have to be too aggressive towards them. We don't have to take measures to spray them or kill them as soon as we see them.”
And to help revive the bee population, all one has to do is provide food for them.
“Plant some gardens, get some planters on your balcony, plant anything that has flowers,” said Thomson. “I like to say if you build them, they will come. It's as simple as that.”
Orillia Bee City will also be at Orillia City Centre Monday night to designate the Sunshine City as the 28th Bee City in Canada.
For more information, visit the Orillia Bee City Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/327122357938854/.