Honey bee interest
Good morning! I am interested in keeping honey bees in an attempt to increase their numbers. I live in Florence and in the Siuslaw National Forest. I have a flourishing vegetable garden and GIANT hedges of blackberries near where I would put my hives. My question is this: Is it worth it keeping bees in my coastal weather? I am big into researching as much as possible before I begin anything, and this is my first step. I am beginning the online Master Gardener course, and this is my first assignment. Thank you for your help, Sincerely, Carol Ward Florence
Lane County Oregon
Hi Carol, I think you will find the Master Gardener program very interesting and well worth your time and effort. You will learn that part of the plight of pollinators is diminishing habitat and forage. The first step for you to take is to increase the amount of pollinator plantings on your property. The Oregon Bee Project has multiple resources that will guide your efforts. You also might explore the website of the OSU Garden Ecology Lab. They have a listing of native plants that are attractive to pollinators.
Is it worth keeping bees on the coast? It is more difficult location for honey bees since they are fair weather flyers and they do need more nectar and pollen than just blackberries. A good source of information for you will be in a local bee club. Here’s the link to the regional bee clubs that are members of the Oregon Beekeepers Association. Contact the club nearest you and/or attend some meetings and talk to people there about how they overcome the challenges of coastal beekeeping.
Beekeeping in general is difficult. There is a very steep learning curve. It is a big undertaking that should not be approached lightly. For more information, you might investigate the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program. They have a great program in place which is centered on research-based information and an assigned mentor for your first year.
But first, you need to finish the program that you are about to embark upon, namely the Master Gardener program. It will serve as a good grounding for potential future projects involving bees.
Happy research, planning and planting.