Virtual conference buzzes with sweet bee insights


TORONTO, Oct. 12, 2021 – This year’s BeeCon will explore the effects of human-driven landscape disturbance on wild bee communities, the development of diagnostic tools for neonicotinoid exposure, altruistic and selfish aggression in honey bees and more.

BeeCon is a free, annual, now virtual, bee conference from Oct. 15 to 16 that brings local, national and international bee biologists together to discuss bees, their behaviour, taxonomy, genomics, ecology, and conservation, hosted by the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at York University.

bee on yellow flower

The two-day event will feature a keynote at 11am on Oct. 15 by Associate Professor Shalene Jha of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas, Austin, discussing plant-pollinator interactions and ecosystem services in the face of global change.

Below is a selection of some of the many symposium talks, each 15 minutes in length:

Oct. 15:

9:30 a.m. – Can green roofs compensate for the loss of (Hymenopteran) biodiversity in cities? –

Jeffrey Jacobs of Hasselt University, Belgium

12 p.m. – Assessing the impacts of urban beehives on wild bees using individual, population-level, and community level metrics – Hadil Elsayed of York University

2:45 p.m. - Effects of Social Status on Aggression in a Facultatively Social Bee Species (Xylocopa virginica) – James Mesich of Brock University

3:45 p.m. – Social environment and sibling cooperation in a small carpenter bee –

Jesse Huisken of York University

Oct. 16:

9 a.m. – Holocene population expansion of a tropical bee coincides with early human colonisation of Fiji rather than climate change – James Dorey of Yale University

9:30 a.m. – The risks of crop exposure to honey bee colonies – Sarah French of York University

9:45 a.m. – The blueberries & the bees: assessing honey bee health stressors using proteomics – Rhonda Thygesen of the University of British Columbia

10:15 a.m. – Corpse management in bumblebee colonies – Victoria Blanchard of Royal Holloway, University of London

11:15 a.m. – Assessment of habitat use & ecology of native bee communities in tallgrass prairie and oak savanna in Southern Ontario – Janean Sharkey of the University of Guelph

Click here for the schedule of speakers.

To register for Oct. 15, click here and to register for Oct. 16, click here.


York University is a modern, multi-campus, urban university located in Toronto, Ontario. Backed by a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners, we bring a uniquely global perspective to help solve societal challenges, drive positive change and prepare our students for success. York's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education. York’s campuses in Costa Rica and India offer students exceptional transnational learning opportunities and innovative programs. Together, we can make things right for our communities, our planet, and our future.

Media Contact:

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-272-6317,