GFM Network News


A Halictus bee on an aster. This is an example of the native bees that live in Alberta and thrive on diverse plant species.

Native pollinators want to be your buddies

Some simple things can make your land more attractive to pollinators

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no denying that native pollinators are important — and there are things you can do to encourage these keystone species to come live on your land. Native pollinators are critical for forages and crops, agroforestry specialist Luke Wonneck said during a recent Foothills Forage and Grazing Association webinar. “Pollination is plant sex. Because plants […] Read more

ian steppler

Bees cannot live on canola and alfalfa alone

‘Agriculture blooms for one month a year’ and so maintaining pockets of natural food sources is critical

Reading Time: 2 minutes Cropland’s encroachment on nature threatens to starve bees and pollinators, says beekeeper Ian Steppler. “Where we find a balance within our countryside between agriculture and nature is where we find tremendous growth and prosperity,” said Steppler, a crops and cattle producer in Manitoba who has 1,500 hives and produces over 250,000 pounds of honey per […] Read more


A queen bumblebee collects floral resources for her nest.

Environmental threats put bumblebee queens under pressure

Insecticide exposure and declining floral diversity are jeopardizing key pollinator group

Reading Time: < 1 minute Spring is a busy time for bumblebee queens. After emerging from hibernation, their to-do list includes making nests, laying eggs, and keeping their larvae warm and fed. It’s physiologically demanding, and the stakes are high: the success of the colony depends on a queen. In a recent study, researchers at the University of California Riverside […] Read more

Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim.

U.S. bee numbers growing

CNS Canada – Honeybee populations are rising in the United States, turning around a recent trend of declines attributed to a set of factors know as colony collapse disorder. It’s estimated that 84,430 hives were lost to the disorder in the first quarter this year. That’s down 27 per cent from a year earlier. Year-over-year […] Read more


Luke Wonneck, agroforestry technician with the Alberta Woodlot and Extension Society, describes the newly created eco-buffer at the Edmonton Corn Maze in Parkland County.

Want to keep pollinators and beneficial species on your land? Build an eco-buffer

Edmonton Corn Maze is showcasing an eco-buffer — a community 
of trees and plants that provide a host of benefits for farms

Reading Time: 3 minutes If you build an eco-buffer, beneficial species will come. An eco-buffer is a planned community of trees, plants, and herbaceous species that provide pollinator and wildlife habitat, shelter for livestock, nutrient cycling, and groundwater recharge. A newly created eco-buffer, designed as part of an ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) project, will soon demonstrate its value […] Read more

ALUS Canada has launched its first program in Quebec, with support from a regional arm of UPA. (CNW Group/ALUS Canada)

ALUS program expands to Quebec

The Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program has made its move into a sixth province with a new project in Quebec’s Monteregie. ALUS Canada, working with the Monteregie branch of Quebec’s Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), formally launched the program Wednesday at its first Quebec location, a farm near St-Jean-Baptiste, south of St-Hyacinthe. ALUS, in […] Read more


Bumblebees and other wild bees offer significant pollination value compared to honeybees and leafcutter bees.

Wild bees can boost your yields

FarmTech: There’s an estimated 300 species of wild bees in Alberta, and they can’t be beat as pollinators

Reading Time: 3 minutes Wild bees buzzing around your field can give you a bigger bang for your buck than honeybees or leafcutter bees. That’s because they actually do a better job of pollinating, said bee specialist Ralph Cartar. “Our whole world is built around managed bees and using honeybees as best we can, but in fact, the most […] Read more

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Regulatory reviews show slim risk to bees from imidacloprid

Label directions and rules for foliar and on-seed use of imidacloprid pesticides should either prevent or limit the risks to honeybees and other pollinators from the chemical, Canadian and U.S. regulators say in a new early-stage risk assessment. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday released […] Read more


(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Wild bees seen dwindling in main U.S. crop regions

Washington | Reuters — Wild bees, crucial pollinators for many crops, are on the decline in some of the main agricultural regions of the U.S., according to scientists who produced the first national map of bee populations and identified numerous trouble spots. The researchers on Monday cited 139 counties as especially worrisome, with wild bee […] Read more

Big brown bats are one of nine bat species in Alberta.

Misunderstood bats don’t deserve their bad rap

Expert says bats aren’t a rabies threat but gobble up 
a lot of mosquitoes and pests like wheat midge

Reading Time: 3 minutes Bats are associated with scary things like vampires and rabies, but it’s time to give the critters a break. “For some reason, bats have a negative image around them,” said Lisa Card, a conservation technician with Highway 2 Conservation, which serves Sturgeon, Athabasca, Barrhead, and Westlock counties. “It might be because they are nocturnal and […] Read more