People who are interested in bees and the challenges they face can learn more at the 2015 International Orchard Bee Association Meeting and Pollinator Symposium and Expo, held October 1-3.
The annual meeting of the Orchard Bee Association (OBA) will be in Hood River, OR on Thursday and Friday, October 1 and 2. The public symposium will be at Portland State University on Saturday, October 3, from 10:00 – 3:00. Topics covered will include creating native bee habitat, local non-profits that benefit bees, and local and national bee research. More information is available on the registration page. Admission to the Pollinator Symposium and Expo is $15 and includes lunch. Admission to the events is free for OBA members.
“Honey bees are great pollinators, but not the best for every crop,” said Dr. Theresa Pitts-Singer, a research entomologist at the USDA ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit. “Other managed bees or naturally-occurring wild bees like blue orchard bees are better pollinators for some crops, such as tree fruits and nuts, berries, alfalfa, and melons. These other pollinators can be used alone or together with honey bees to increase crop yields. OBA members have blazed the trail for the use of blue orchard bees as they continue to learn more and share ideas as an industry group. Members share their enthusiasm by enlightening the public to recent successes, relevant applications, and educational experiences in their open forum,” said Pitt-Singer.
Honey bees and bumble bees, are only two of 20,000 bee species worldwide. For instance, most bees don’t live in colonies, but are solitary. Native solitary bees, like blue orchard bees, tend to be less defensive than social bees and better suited for backyard habitat.
“The Pollinator Symposium is our way of including the public in our love of bees. It’s a chance to learn, not only about the species OBA focuses on, but about many of the other bee species that our world depends on for food and ecosystem services,” said Dr. Cory Stanley-Stahr, Vice-President of OBA. “We hope people come away from the symposium with hope and a sense of empowerment, because together we can save the bees.”
Members of OBA, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, professional society, work toward common-ground solutions and practical orchard bee standards for the industry. To learn more, visit www.orchardbee.org.