Dr. James Whitehead
Insect pollinators are critical to the increasing demands of agriculture, yet we often misunderstand their role. This presentation will dispel some oft-repeated myths about the function of the honeybee in this context, with particular emphasis on the local Blueberry industry. The differences between commercial and hobbyist beekeeping will be highlighted, and the presentation will end with an informal show and tell about what is involved in maintaining a hive. Live bees will be present in a sealed observation hive.
Dr. Don Ostaff
According to the United Nations Environment Program, of the 100 crop species that provide more than 90 per cent of the world’s food, more than 70 are pollinated by bees. In addition, it is estimated that 90% of the wild plants are pollinated by insects. There are 19,000 described species of bees in the world, only one of which is the honey bee; 4% (730) are found in Canada. They are varied in their life styles, the places they frequent, the nests they build, the flowers they visit, and their season of activity. They remain ignored or unknown by most of us. Wild native bee populations, like honey bees, have also been declining due such factors as loss and degradation of nesting sites and floral resources, intensive agriculture and monoculture practice, displacement of native floral hosts by exotic plants, and use of pesticides. This presentation will introduce the wild bees found locally and how one can play an active role in contributing to their continued importance as effective pollinators of crops and flowering plants.
Originally from West Sussex, England, Dr. James Whitehead was introduced to the wonderful world of insects by a local publican (pub owner). He collected butterflies on the hills of southern England and bred several endangered species. He came to Canada in 1991 to pursue graduate studies and taught at both UNB (Geology) and St Thomas University (Science and Technology Studies) until retirement in 2015. During this time, he served as board member and President of Science East in Fredericton, and the installation of an insectarium in the Science Centre inspired his foray into beekeeping. Having kept bees for 8 seasons, he now has 16 hives in and around St Andrews and operates “The Bees Knees” in the local market. In 2016 he co-founded the Charlotte County Beekeepers (Charcobeeks) peer support group for new beekeepers in the area.
Dr. Don Ostaff received his formal training through undergraduate studies at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, ON), and graduate studies at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, BC) and University of New Brunswick (Fredericton, NB). He was a Research Scientist at the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) in Fredericton and Ottawa; an Adjunct Professor at UNB, teaching courses in Insect Pest Management; and, presently serves as the Editor of the Journal of the Acadian Entomological Society. After 35 years working for the CFS studying insects attacking wood in service, wood products and those damaging Maritime forests, Don retired in 2008 and became very interested in plant pollination, particularly the role played by native bees. He is presently studying methods of enhancing native bee pollination of wild blueberries, and their role in the reclamation of highly disturbed sites, i.e., abandoned coal mines.