The honeybee world is undergoing some very tough times currently, and the folks at D&B are taking an active approach in educating the public as well as providing honeybees and supplies. They have an exciting series of lectures upcoming in January and February for those interested in learning about the honeybee, the queen of the pollinators. They have approached me, because of my background in working with bees, to contribute articles to their blog which I am very excited to do. A little bit about my background with bees and especially the kinds of bee species other than honeybees is primarily what I will be discussing in these articles.
PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF
I grew up in the little farming community of Midvale, Idaho, went to the College of Idaho, became interested in the world of insects while taking an entomology class there my senior year. Upon graduating in 1968, I accepted a graduate research grant at Purdue University in entomology to study the native bees of Indiana. A lot of my research dealt with the bee Osmia lignaria commonly called the mason bee, and I will be devoting more than a few future blog posts to this bee.
In 1970, I left Purdue and went to Utah State University in Logan Utah. I missed the mountains of the West, but more importantly there was a USDA research facility in Logan devoted to the study of non-Apis bees (bees other than honeybees), and I made the decision to pursue my Doctorate, seeking to understand the biology and management of the Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee, Megachile rotundata, which had been discovered in the 1959 nesting in an old barn outside of Boise. This bee has become one of the primary pollinators in the world for alfalfa seed production and because of this bee the Treasure Valley of Idaho has become a major producer of alfalfa seed for use throughout the United States and Canada.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ME
In future blogs, I want to introduce farmers, gardeners, and interested folks to the world of the non-Apis or native bees as they are more commonly called. You will learn about the biology and management of the different kinds of bees. Current issues facing the honeybee require us to look at these alternative pollinators, which won’t replace the honeybee in importance, but will help augment the important task of pollinating crops. Dwindling honeybee numbers is becoming a national as well as an International problem and there is lot that the general public can do to help bees of all kinds survive and prosper. Enjoy this journey with me and join me on my winery deck someday, and we can discuss more about bees over my other passion our great Idaho wines.