Campus Life

USU Extension and USDA Offer Bumble Bee Workshop

Bumble bees are sort of the monster trucks of the bee world; thick, colorful and seemingly too large to move about gracefully. Bumble bees are a unique genus of bees with about 250 species worldwide; 25 of which live in the western United States.

The 2012 Bumble Bee Workshop, hosted by Utah State University Extension and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Pollinating Insect Research Unit, will explore the possibilities of using wild bumble bees as pollinators in agriculture and home gardens. The workshop is held June 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Poisonous Plants Research Lab, 1150 East 1400 North, Logan, just north of the USU campus.

“Bumble bees are great pollinators for fruit and seed crops such as alfalfa seed, onion seeds, berries and fruit trees,” said Jamie Strange, research entomologist at the USDA Research unit. “They are also often used in green houses. Bumble bees are unique in that you can buy colonies, have them shipped to you and have them go right to work in the fields.”

The workshop will have something for everyone, he said, from growers who need to augment pollination services to their crops, to the citizen scientists who want to attract and raise bumble bees in their backyards.

“You can also manage your crops to attract native species of bumble bees,” Strange said.  “The workshop will teach producers how to create the right habitat for bumble bees and safely manage pesticide spraying to ensure their safety. Homeowners and backyard bee keepers may also be interested in learning more about the native species and how to attract them to the landscape.”

Registration for the one-day workshop is $35. To register or for details about the workshop, go to the workshop website.

Contact: Cory Stanley, Utah State University Extension bee specialist, 801-388-5433, cory.stanley@usu.edu

Contact: Jamie Strange, USDA ARS research entomologist, 435-797-7151, james.strange@ars.usda.gov

Writer: Dennis Hinkamp, Utah State University Extension communications, 435-760-0926, Dennis.Hinkamp@usu.edu

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