Where did the year go?! It’s hard to believe it traveled at the same pace as last year and the year before. In such a chaotic year, it’s nice to contemplate the simplicity of the bees; their daily lives guided by the movement of the sun and the drum of the rain, all of which come and go. For many people, bee stewardship is a meditative and peaceful part of their lives and in winter we must let our thoughts go to spring where we can start again in a fresh new year. Fall, too, is marked by new blooms which herald the transition into cooler weather – sunflowers, asters, sedums are all coming into their time as are fall crops such as broccoli, squash and radishes.
There is ongoing chatter about mites (is there ever NOT chatter about mites?) and that they may be particularly bad this year. Several PUB members treated their hives, only to still encounter high mite loads. This may require extra attention this winter to ensure survival and it will be interesting to see how PUB colonies fare come spring 2021.
We were fortunate to have Dr. Andony Melathopoulos of the Oregon Bee Project at OSU join us for our October meeting. He gave us a preview of his talk at the OSBA conference, on native bees. His focus was on the relationship between native bees and honeybees and whether honeybees have a negative effect on native bees. One of these areas is forage competition, and whether honeybees crowd out native bees from flowers they would typically visit. Studies are still ongoing, but one of the ways people can support native bee populations is by having a variety of flower forms because different bees frequent different shaped flowers. The Oregon Bee Project website is full of great information and highlights ways to get involved in the preservation of native species – check it out!