Why Spring Gets Us Buzzing With Excitement for Bees May 30 2017, 0 Comments

It's the end of May here in Oregon and these bees are hard at work pollinating our black raspberries. Without them, many foods we are used to seeing on our plates every day wouldn't exist! Here is a quote from a recent USA Today article:

"One in every three bites of food, van Engelsdorp said, is directly or indirectly pollinated by honeybees, who pollinate about $15 billion worth of U.S. crops each year."

So we really owe a lot to bees like this one:

Our partner farm is home to the Oregon Berry Bee Project, whose goal is to help bolster the dwindling population of native Oregon Berry Bees by setting up safe and symbiotic homes for them on berry farms. Sturm’s farm was chosen for this in part because they do not use any pesticides or other chemicals on the berries. Bees can be harmed by even trace amounts of chemicals. Don has personally helped with various parts of this project, from building bird-safe shelters for the bees, to installing webcams for scientists around the country to monitor bee activity. The Oregon Berry Bee Project also benefits the farm. Here is a quote from their project website:

“Using native solitary bees for pollination fits well into the sustainable agriculture practices on the Sturm farm. The Sturms do not use any insecticides on their berries. Beneficial insect populations have been sufficient in the absence of insecticides to control insect pests. The lack of insecticides makes the farm a favorable place for pollinators as well. Because they offer pesticide-free berries, they have developed a large customer base who we hope will appreciate native solitary bees for pollination.”

The Sturms have partnered with OBBP since 2007 and the project is continuing with good success in 2011. Sturm’s Berry Farm provides a safe haven for the bees to thrive and pollinate cane berry bushes, and according to the researchers involved, “it is clear that these bees are doing well” in their new home.

Don’s farm is also home to many honey bees that are owned by local beekeepers and are not park of the OBBP. Honey gets flavor from the flowers the bees collect pollen from, so berry farms are a natural location for businesses looking to harvest and sell honey locally. Most beekeepers have to move the bees off of farms when pesticides are being sprayed because the bees are very sensitive to any chemicals. On Sturm’s Berry Farm the bees can stay on location year-long due to the lack of any harsh insecticides being sprayed.