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​Bee City Barrie

Barrie is the 30th Bee City in Canada. A bee city is a designation that connects people, places and pollinators. Our commitment is to protect and create pollinator habitat, community education and to celebrate our pollinators. 

The Buzz About Bees & Pollinators

Research from around the world supports evidence that pollinator populations are declining. Climate change, pesticide use, habitat loss and disease are all contributing factors.

Pollinators create healthy ecosystems. About 80 percent of plants including flowers, trees, fruit and vegetables rely on pollination. Over one third of our diet comes from insect pollinated plants along with medicine, clothing and lumber.

There has been a lot of buzz about honey bee declination. However, when it comes to pollinators Canada is home to more than 800 native bee species, all which are declining. Other pollinators include birds, ants, flies, beetles and butterflies. Pollinators can be found in rural and urbanized areas, in fact cities play a key role for their survival. Becoming a bee city means there will be more focus on pollinator conservation within current parks and future urban planning.

Pollinator Initiatives

The City of Barrie has been active in creating pollinator spaces:

  • Bee Hotel at Sunnidale Park
  • Pollinator Gardens installed across the city – Sunnidale Park, Northshore Trail, Allandale Station Park
  • Pesticide Reduction Policy- removing the use of cosmetic pesticides from our operations
  • Naturalizing areas within our parks
  • Monarch Butterfly Program: 2015–2017 program aimed to enhance Monarch butterfly habitat in Barrie, raise awareness about this issue, and inspire national efforts to increase habitat for Monarch butterflies across Canada. Included a dedicated webpage and promotion summarizing facts and benefits re monarch butterflies, milkweed seeding for City projects, and milkweed seeding at schools.     
  • Pollinator Week (June 22–28, 2020): Included the "Pic-a-Pollinator" contest, where residents were encouraged to take a photo of a pollinator in their backyards for the chance to have their photo featured on this webpage (see below) and social media channels, plus the prize of a butterfly house.

 Make Your Yard More Pollinator-Friendly

  • Plant multiple pollen- and nectar-producing plants. When possible, plant native plants. The David Suzuki Foundation has a helpful list of native plants that bloom in different seasons to attract a diversity of bees.
  • Provide nesting places by leaving bare patched of ground for native bees to build nests in soil, or leave hollow stems to attract cavity-nesting bees.
  • Garden without pesticides.
  • Offer fresh water to pollinators in a shallow dish or birdbath.

photo by Jacob Strasser Monarch butterfly Monarch butterfly Common Milkweed

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all bees sting?

Many of them do not sting. In general, bees are not out to sting people – they do so only if threatened or aggravated in some way. Among the bees species that can sting, such as bumblebees and honeybees, males are unable to do so.

How can you identify if it's a bee, fly or wasp?
Bees:
  • 4 wings
  • Antennae long & elbowed
  • Usually hairy
  • Female has special pollen collecting hairs (scopa) or pollen basket (corbicula) Rounder body than wasp
Flies:
  • 2 wings
  • Short, think antennae
  • Ski-goggle eyes
  • Thick waist/chunky body
  • No pollen collecting hairs
Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets:
  • 4 wings
  • Long antennae
  • Very narrow waist, often narrow body
  • Spindly, hooked legs
  • No pollen collecting hairs

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