Most people are familiar with honey bees. In fact, in Oregon we have roughly 500 species of bees that vary greatly in size shape, and behavior. We have managed bees such as honey bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, and alkali bees, and we have wild bees that pollinate crops and native plants in the state.
Here in Oregon we have a unique landscape that contributes to bee health. We produce over two hundred different crops that provide continuous bloom throughout the growing season for bees to forage on. We also have a lot of great habitat along the margins of agriculture fields and natural habitat between agricultural areas. These places provide excellent nesting sites and additional floral resources for bees. It’s likely because of this wonderful habitat that Oregon hasn’t seen the same level of bee decline the rest of the country and the world is experiencing.
To promote bees in your own yard add pollinator friendly plants to your garden. There are some great seed mixes out there and many nurseries even have sections for pollinator friendly plants. Homeowners also can minimize the use of pesticides and fungicides.
If you do need to spray, make sure to spray at times when bees are not foraging, such as in the evening, and If possible, always avoid spraying when plants are in bloom.
If you are interested in learning more about bees and the work the ODA and OSU are doing to protect pollinators please visit oregonbeeproject.org. There you will find resources and a calendar of upcoming events for pollinator week and beyond.