Bees and Bugs

As we head into spring, bugs and bees are our friends.

For beekeepers, April means it’s time to start making sure hives are ready for the season.

“A lot of adults don’t understand that pollination is allowing reproduction of flowers and other plants,” says Chris Kirouak, co-founder of Beeproject Apiaries.

Plants reproduce sexually. When a bee visits a male flower and then a female flower, some of the pollen stuck to its hairs lets fertilization happen. This is how a fruit, carrying seeds, can develop.

This type of pollination, called cross-pollination, helps at least 30 per cent of the world’s crops, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Kirouak says its estimated bees increase yields in specialty crops like almonds and blueberries up to 90 percent.

In 2016, the city allowed bee keeping in the downtown area, and then expanded city-wide in 2017. People can have up to four hives on their properties.

“It’s a great way to use your space,” says Kirouak, “to bring life to the city and to introduce pollinators.”
Ladybugs help control aphids, sap-sucking pests that can harm plants and crops. Ladybug “release parties” are a growing trend in Winnipeg. /MADDY REICO
Bees aren’t the only insects that help plants.

Last week, Sage Garden Greenhouses released 13,000 ladybugs into their greenhouse.

They help get rid of aphids, sap-sucking pests that can damage crops.

People can buy packs of dormant ladybugs for release in their own garden. A pack of 1,00 would cover about 500 square feet of garden, says Dave Hanson, co-owner of Sage Garden Greenhouses.

“We take an ecosystem approach, a living soil approach,” says Hanson. “It’s really foundational to how we grow things and I think it makes gardening easier.”

More people are releasing ladybugs at home. In fact, ladybug release parties are a new trend in Winnipeg.

Beekeepers show process involved in maintaining hives in Winnipeg.
There are many ways to make your yard greener. Gerry Engel and Dave Hanson show show you two ways to spruce up your yard.