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  • March Meeting: Gordon Fitch - Food As Medicine -- For Bees?

March Meeting: Gordon Fitch - Food As Medicine -- For Bees?

  • 2024-03-25
  • 19:00 - 21:00
  • Bonar Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Ave, Toronto, ON M6K 2R9


  • We will be meeting IN PERSON at Bonar Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Ave, just South of Queen Street West. Arrive after 6:30 PM for refreshments and socializing, the meeting starts at 7:30PM.
  • We will also be holding the meeting ONLINE through Zoom. Members will be sent the link in the newsletter in the week leading up to the meeting.
  • Non-Hort members are welcome to attend in-person for a suggested donation of $5 or Pay-What-You-Can. To join the meeting online, please contact info@parkdaletorontohort.com.


Plants produce a dizzying variety of so-called secondary metabolites. Many of these compounds play a defensive role, protecting plants against herbivores or disease. But humans have for millennia used these compounds as medicine. Recent research has shown that some of the compounds found in pollen and nectar can similarly have medicinal effects on multiple bee diseases. This is perhaps especially exciting given that disease – in combination with other stressors – is implicated as a significant driver of declining bee populations.

In this talk, we will discuss recent research in looking at medicinal effects of pollen and nectar of some common native plants (and perhaps a few native to areas other than the GTA). Gordon will also present evidence that bees may actually be engaging in self-medication – that is, actively seeking out medicinal plants when they are infected with a pathogen – and discuss what all this might mean for bee-conscious garden enthusiasts.

Gordon Fitch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and a member of the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation (BEEc) at York University. 

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