A couple of months ago, I was invited to chat about my research with Ian Perry, who runs a radio/podcast interview program (Keeping Green) at the University of Calgary’s CJSW. Ian is interviewing people who are studying ecology in western Canada. He has a smooth, smooth voice and a gifted interview style. So, we had a rambling chat, mostly about bees, and loosely focused on my research in bee ecology at the University of Calgary.
What is my work about? Well, I hope that you will listen to the interview, which is linked below. Briefly, I’ve been looking at the effect that honey bees in the city of Calgary have on native bees in the city. Backyard beekeeping has grown exponentially here. (We had 127 hives in 2008, about 1300 in 2018 – a ten-fold increase!) Maybe all those imported bees are harming the local bees?
Some neighbourhoods are probably overstocked with honey bee hives. If that’s the case (my research results are still pending), there may be some negative impact on bumble bees and solitary bees. To understand the issue, we (my summer students and I) set up hundreds of empty bumble bee and solitary bee houses around the city to monitor the success of wild bees occupying those boxes and developing nests when honey bees are around.
In addition to monitoring all those wild native bees, the work has involved gathering pollen from honey bee and bumble bee colonies, collecting 240 samples of pollinators in biodiversity traps set around the city, extensive mapping (and field scouting) of floral resources, and other details that I will write about another day. It’s a big project. I was lucky to have a good team helping me.
Hear the interview here. Or click below.