In early October, fifteen widespread sites on Hornby Island of various sizes were surveyed for any insects which play a role in pollinating our trees, vegetables and flowers. Biologist Bonnie Zand completed specimen collection for the Ministry of the Environment’s Pollinator Survey, which was facilitated by the Hornby Island Natural History Centre. The purpose of the study is to understand reasons for declines in many important species, especially bees. Locations include Helliwell and Big Tribune Parks, Ford Cove and Heron Rocks Orchards, and the rest being private land ranging from 1/2 to 28 acres. Ideally, such a project would be most effectively done earlier in the year, but funding issues caused delays. Bonnie asked a number of questions of each owner related specifically to their use of land, including what, if any pesticides were used, and not one reported using any. This says a lot about land stewardship in our thoughtful community.
An important piece of advice Bonnie gave several of us is to not cut all of our grasses down at once, but to do areas in rotation so that there is always some left long for habitat and egg laying. Piles of cut brush may contain eggs and larvae of several species, so to not burn it all if we must clear.
Results are being compiled and studied this fall and will be presented to owners and the community in a workshop in the winter to help guide us in pollinator conservation for the coming year.