Two native bees appear in Canada Post’s latest issue, including the extremely rare rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) and its colourful and more common co-star, a metallic green bee (Agapostemon virescens).
Both are featured on the official first-day cover, which is cancelled in Grand Bend, Ont., near Pinery Provincial Park—the last known location of a rusty-patched bumble bee in Canada.
Once common in parts of southern Ontario and Québec, the rusty-patched bumble bee was the first bee species to be assessed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. In contrast, the metallic green bee—often spotted carrying loads of pollen on its back legs—is still found throughout southern Canada.
850 BEES NATIVE TO CANADA
There are about 4,000 species of bees native to North America and more than 850 native to Canada. Many bee populations, however, are in decline due to habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change. Canadians can do their part to help nurture their numbers by planting native flowers, allowing more of their property to grow wild and avoiding the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
The stamps were designed by Andrew Perro, of Toronto, and illustrated by Dave Murray, a Toronto artist known for his cubist takes on portraits and pop culture, based on detailed information and images from some of Canada’s foremost bee experts.