The City of Mississauga is excited to be designated as the 29th Bee City in Canada! Through this designation, the City of Mississauga is committed to (1) creating healthy pollinator habitat, (2) educating the community about the importance of pollinators and (3) celebrating pollinators.
Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from the male to the female part of the plant. It is a critical part of a plant’s lifecycle and allows the plant to produce seeds and fruit. Seeds and fruit are what allow a plant to create new plants.
Pollinators are insects such as bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, flies, and beetles that transfer pollen from flower to flower as they forage for nectar and pollen. Even mammals and birds can be pollinators!
Current initiatives in the city to enhance habitat for pollinators include pollinator gardens, incorporating native plants in park gardens, as well as educational campaigns and events to educate residents on how they can support pollinators at home, work and school.
The Parks, Forestry & Environment Division is also working on projects to restore and enhance natural areas in Mississauga through the One Million Trees program. Projects include tree and shrub planting, invasive species removal and stewardship of natural areas. The Division offers educational events and shares social media content about what the City is doing and what you can do to help pollinators.
In 2018, the City installed a beehive on the roof of City Hall as an educational piece and a way to engage the public in pollinator-related topics. Honeybees can be a great way to start the conversation about pollinators in urban areas. Streetsville is also home to a new pollinator-friendly garden thanks to funding provided by grants from Scotts Canada and Communities in Bloom. Two grants were also received to install pollinator gardens at Dr. Martin L. Dobkin Park and at Port Credit Library. The Streetsville garden, which officially opened in May 2018, contains perennial flowers and plants to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
The City’s mandate to protect, enhance, restore and expand our natural heritage system guides our activities with pollinators including bees. As such, the City looks at bees from an ecological perspective. This means we aim to support wild pollinators (including native wild bees) instead of honeybees which are introduced to Canada for agricultural purposes.
Native wild bee populations are declining which can lead to a decrease in biodiversity and ecosystem health. The City’s main focus is to support populations of native pollinators using tools such the bee hive as a conversation starter.
June 17-23, 2019, was Pollinator Week-a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them. The City celebrated pollinators with an educational walk at Hancock Woodlands where participants learned about how this park provides habitat to pollinators.
Volunteers also came out and got their hands dirty at the City’s two native tallgrass prairies: Lorne Park Prairie and Jack Darling Park Prairie! At each site, Volunteers controlled invasive plants that threaten the health of these important natural areas. For more information about the City’s pollinator initiatives, please visit www.mississauga.ca/pollinators.