"Solutions for farmers & food for bumblebees"

The project was born in 2021, carried by the Liber Ero program which supports young researchers in Conservation Biology in the development and dissemination of research that facilitates the resolution of conservation and management issues important to Canada.

LiberEro%202021%20_edited.png
 

CONTEXT

In Canada, more than a billion dollars worth of fruits and vegetables depend on wild bees and bumblebees for pollination. These pollinators also pollinate many wild plants, and are therefore essential to maintaining the integrity and functionality of many ecosystems. As they are active at low temperatures, bumblebees are important pollinators in our latitudes. However, seven species are already threatened with extinction in Canada.
 
The main threats are habitat loss, parasitic infections, malnutrition and exposure to pesticides, associated with intensive agriculture. To act effectively on these threats, we must: 1) re-establish a dialogue with farmers and integrate their considerations when launching research and conservation projects; 2) improve our knowledge of the needs of native pollinators; 3) ensure a rapid and efficient transfer of the knowledge acquired from the various stakeholders.
 
THE PROJECT
 
This two-year project, to improve the health of native pollinators, is built around three main objectives / components:

      1. Carry out surveys among farmers to determine their main interests and obstacles in the implementation of solutions favorable to native pollinators, and to identify cultivable or native plants with agro-economic interests.

       2. Improve knowledge on the nutrition and physiology of native pollinators in eastern Canada with a focus on bumblebees (Bombus spp.)

  3. Transfer, quickly and efficiently, the knowledge acquired to the development of favorable pollinator practices and sustainable agriculture.

The producer surveys will be implemented very soon. The results will help guide the trials carried out in the second section on the nutrition and performance of bumblebees and thus the recommendations made in the third section.

FUNDING AND COLLABORATIONS

This project is mainly funded by the Liber Ero program and supported by the MAPAQ through PAAR exploratory trials.