Pollinators are a key component of a sustainable, resilient and biodiverse urban environment.
Pollinators are animals that move pollen. They include bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, wasps, and birds. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from a male flower to a female part of a flower, allowing plants to make seeds and fruits. Pollination occurs when pollen is moved by pollinators, or by the wind.
Pollinators are essential components of healthy and diverse ecosystems, and about one third of the food we eat is the result of pollination carried out by pollinators.However, pollinators are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, pests and diseases, pesticide use and invasive plants.
Since 2020, the City has undertaken large-scale restoration plantings that include a diverse variety of native shrubs, forbs, grasses and trees – species that our local pollinators evolved alongside. An example inlcludes the addition of a sidewalk along May Street at the bottom of Moss Rocks Park, which resulted in the installment of large raised planter beds stretching two blocks, populated with a diverse selection of over 600 native shrubs and ferns. Large stretches of native plantings create pollinator corridors that connect ecosystems and reintroduce diverse forage and habitat opportunities.
Keep reading for more resources about pollinators.
Photo credit: Tyson Harrison
Tips to help pollinators
- Garden with plants that are native to your eco-region.
- Many non-native plants are good for pollinators, but make sure these plants are not invasive. The Invasive Species Council of BC offers resources to help you identify invasive plants.
- To provide a constant supply of pollen and nectar, select different plants that together will bloom over the entire growing season.
- Do not use pesticides or plants treated with pesticides. Many pesticides are toxic for pollinating insects.
- Leave areas of your yard with leaves, sticks and rotting wood that all provide pollinator habitat.
Pollinators in the City of Victoria
- To help assist in the selection of lower allergen and pollinator-friendly plants, read our guide about Pollinator and Allergy-Aware Gardening in Victoria, and review the Lower Allergen Landscape Planting Resource List here.
- To help reduce reliance on chemical pesticides, the City of Victoria has adopted the Pesticide Use Reduction Bylaw. Learn about how you can prevent garden pests without pesticide here.
- To create healthy and diverse ecosystems while building community and our food security, the City of Victoria supports community gardening and urban food production. Learn more here.
- Boulevard gardens can help support increased ecological diversity by providing and connecting pollinator habitats throughout the City. To transform a City boulevard into a safe and thriving garden, read and follow the Boulevard Gardening Guidelines.
- In May 2018 City of Victoria Council approved the proclamation request to celebrate Pollinator Week. National Pollinator Week is organized by Pollinator Partnership and is celebrated annually during the third week of June. For more information on how you can take part in Pollinator Week, visit Pollinator Canada.
Photo credit: Tyson Harrison
- The City of Victoria Grant Programs provide financial support to community organizations to advance important programs and services to residents. To explore if City grants can support your efforts to protect pollinators, click here.
- The Island Pollinator Initiative is a coalition of groups working to protect pollinators on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. For more information on planting guides, pollinator identification and citizen science, DIY bee homes, teacher resources, bee-friendly farming or becoming a pollinator steward, click here.
- Pollinator Partnership Canada is an organization that promotes the health of pollinators through conservation, education, and research. Key initiatives include the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, National Pollinator Week, and Ecoregional Planting Guides.
- The Butterflyway Project of the David Suzuki Foundation provides resources to encourage the creation of neighbourhood-scale corridor of habitat for pollinators in Canada.
- Bee City Canada offers programs and resources to recognize communities and organizations committed to helping pollinators.