VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government is looking for ideas on how to help local pollinators.

Applications are now open for funding from Bee BC, and regional- and community-based organizations are asked to pitch projects that support the health of the insects.

The Ministry of Agriculture is also looking for ideas from beekeeping associations and beekeepers in B.C.

Projects selected by the province are eligible for up to $5,000 in funding.

Those projects can range from educational programs to bee-specific planting, the province said. Other submissions could involve use of technology.

The funding is now in its fifth round. Previous projects supported by the province included electronic monitoring of hives, the construction of a "bee barn," and monitoring native wildflower lawns on B.C.'s South Coast.

The fund was first made available in 2018, and since then, has contributed nearly $178,000 to 42 projects, the province says.

Applications for funding can be submitted online until March 13 at 4:30 p.m.

"Bee health is important, not only for the production of honey, but also for the contribution that bees make to the pollination of many crop species and to the wider environment," a brochure on the program guidelines reads.

Research published earlier this month on the impact of climate change on bee populations suggests they are now only half as likely to be found in areas where they were once common.

A biologist said the insects, which are crucial to agriculture, said some places are getting too hot, too frequently. Habitat loss, parasites and pesticide use also have an impact on populations.

With files from The Canadian Press