Oregon and Florida may seem miles apart, but the role of bees in both states has remarkable parallels. This week Dr. Rachel Mallinger University of Florida talks about blueberry pollination, bees in forest systems and interests of gardeners around bees in the Sunshine State. Dr. Mallinger is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida. Her position is 60% research, 25% extension, and 15% teaching, so she wears many hats! In general, she conduct research on pollination ecology, plant-pollinator interactions, and wild bee community ecology. Her extension programs works with growers of pollinator-dependent specialty crops (e.g. blueberries, strawberries), and with Florida’s Master Gardeners to improve gardens and landscapes for native wild bees. She also teaches a course on the ecology and conservation of pollinators for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Links Mentioned:

Dr. Mallinger’s website

Dr Mallinger’s Book Recommendation: The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees (Wilson and Carril, 2015)

Go to tool: Pollinator exclusion bags (here is an exercise using these bags from Ohio State University – also here are the bags that Dr. Mallinger uses)

Favorite Pollinator: Southeastern blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa)

Watermelons are hard notoriously to pollinate. But pollination is not their only problem; they can also experience reduced yield from pest damage. This week we hear from Jacob Pecenka, a PhD candidate at Purdue Universtity, from who tells us about the trade-offs from managing pests and loosing pollination and how Integrated Pest Management can provide an excellent way to navigate these trade-offs.

Jacob grew up in South Dakota, where agriculture was never too far away. He started his PhD in the Entomology Department in 2017. His research examines how the insecticide inputs change agricultural cropping systems. Specifically he is looking at pest/pollinator dynamics in Indiana watermelon production and how insecticides in the melons, as well as adjacent crops, alter pest insects, beneficial pollinators, and ultimately the yield and profitability of these operations. When not stomping through melon fields in a bee suit he fills his time visiting Indiana’s many state parks with my trusty dog Thea.

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Links Mentioned:

IPM Revisited: A Cost-effective Solution for Balancing Pest and Pollinator Management (Jacob Pecenka, October 24, 2018)

Jacob’s Book Recommendation: The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees (Wilson and Carril, 2015)

Go to tool: Bee vacuum

Favorite Pollinator:  Melissodes bimaculatus

There has been a lot of demand for nursery plants that are good for pollinators, but also confusion on whether these plants have been grown using practices that minimize impacts to pollinators. This week we hear from Sharon Selvaggio, Program Director at Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP), about a pilot study (conducted along with Lloyd Nackley from the OSU Hort Ecology lab and Bruce Colman from Woodburn Nursery)  to see what consumers respond to when labeling pollinator plants around the practices they were grown under.  Sharon has experience with pesticide risk assessment and mitigation and holds a seat on EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, a federal advisory group. She works to provide training and information on alternatives to pesticides for in agricultural, landscape, and residential settings. She is the author of Water is the Connection: Mitigating Pesticide Risk for Salmon Recovery. She previously worked for 27 years as a biologist and refuge manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service, and she holds an M.S. in Energy and Resources and a B.A. in Biology, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Links Mentioned:

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP)

The value of the green label (March 27, 2019, Lloyd Nackley, Bruce Colman and Sharon Selvaggio)

Sharon’s Book Recommendation:  Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A natural approach to pest control (Jessica Walliser)

Go to tool: Twitter @PNWNurseryIPM (Robin Rosetta), @finegardening, @BeesBackyard

Favorite Pollinator:  Fenders blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi)

To mark 100 episodes of PolliNation we have assembled the dedicated faculty from OSU to answer your questions:

Thanks again to Sean Rooney from The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) for hosting us at Bug Week and for all the people who submitted questions for the show. We always love your questions, so keep them rolling.

Links Mentioned:

Do bees dream? The article Jennifer Holt mentions is: Kaiser, W., 1988. Busy bees need rest, too. Journal of Comparative physiology A163(5), pp.565-584.

Megachilid Bees in the Pacific Northwest: An Introduction (OSU Extension, 2016)

Nurturing Mason Bees in Your Backyard in Western Oregon (OSU Extension, 2016)

Example of wooden blocks with different hole sizes mentioned by Lincoln Best during the show.

Still room available for the 2019 Bee School – Native Bee Taxonomy Course:

Registration link

Adam Allington in a reporter with Bloomberg Environment in Washington DC. He covers environmental issues including pesticides and chemicals. Prior to coming to Bloomberg he spent more than ten years working in public radio. Over the course of one year, Adam, along with environment reporters David Schultz and Tiffany Stecker traveled to all corners of the honeybee ecosystem from Washington, D.C., to the California almond fields, and orchards of the upper Midwest to examine the changing relationship between commercial pollination and US food production. There findings are featured in a new Bloomberg podcast: The Business of Bees.

Links Mentioned:

The Business of Bees podcast (iTunes)

The Big Business of Bees (Bloomberg, May 16, 2019)

EPA Curbs Use of 12 Bee-Harming Pesticides (Bloomberg Environment, May 21, 2019)

Last Chance to register for the 2019 Bee School (Native Bee Taxonomy Course):

Bob Falconer joined the OSU Master Gardeners in 2009 but has been gardening since the 1970s. He’s been involved with horticulture since high school, with experience spanning 50 years. He was part of the team that developed and piloted OSU Extension’s Ask an Expert app, which received the OSU Vice Provost Award for Excellence. Falconer has served multiple terms as president of the Washington County Master Gardener Association. He also an Oregon Master Beekeeper. Bob knows how to grow stuff – he even has bananas growing in his yard. This week he shares his secrets on how to establish magnificent strips of Phacelia and clover.

Links Mentioned:

Hubram Clover (1916, Iowa State)

Crimson Clover (Western SARE)

Lacy Phacelia (NRCS)

Pollinator Palooza (June 22, 2019, Jackson Bottom Wetland Park)


Bob’s Phacelia planted in the spring


Bob’s crimson clover seeded last fall


Bob’s mower for chopping up the plants after they have made seed.

Contribute to our 100th episode:

Want to leave a question for our expert panel on the 100th episode?

Call in with your questions: 541 737 3139

Or email: info@oregonbeeproject.org

State your name and where you are from before asking your question.

Hannah Levenson is a North Carolina native with a diverse research background ranging from working on reef degradation in The Bahamas to the impacts of pesticide applications on honey bee hives in South Dakota. Now she is a graduate student in Entomology with a co-major in Biology at North Carolina State University working under Dr. David Tarpy. She is currently conducting a state-wide survey on native bee populations across North Carolina, which will be the most detailed dataset in the state to date. One area of particular focus within this research is looking at impacts of conservation efforts on native bee populations over time as well as various pollinator interactions. Hannah’s project addresses a large knowledge gap on native bee populations and will aid in making future conservation decisions. After graduation she plans to continue a career in bee research and become more involved in international work.

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Links Mentioned:

NC State Apiculture

Video outlining Hannah’s research

Protecting NC Pollinators

Hannah’s Book Recommendation: The Bees in Your Backyard (Princeton University Press, 2015)

Go to tool: Discover Life Guide to Bee Genera, Buglife

Favorite Pollinator: Triepeolus, Holcopasites

Contribute to our 100th episode:

Want to leave a question for our expert panel on the 100th episode?

Call in with your questions: 541 737 3139

Or email: info@oregonbeeproject.org

State your name and where you are from before asking your question.

Dr. Mia Park is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biological Sciences Department at North Dakota State University, Fargo.

Dr. Park’s research asks, “Who are our wild pollinators? How are they impacted by anthropogenic disturbance? How can we manage landscapes in a manner that supports their abundance and health?”.

Current projects focus on benefits of pollinator planting in both urban and rural settings for pollinator health. Previously, Dr. Park taught in the Integrated Studies Program at University of North Dakota. She received her PhD in Entomology and MS in Natural Resources at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Dr. Park is passionate about insect conservation and has worked with non-profit organizations around the world.

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Links Mentioned:

Urban Woods Prairie Initiative (Audubon Dakota)

Dr. Park’s Book Recommendation: Honey Democracy (2010, T. D. Seeley) 

Go to tool: Bumble Bee Watch

Favorite Pollinator: Bombus ternarius (Orange-Belted Bumble Bee)

Note: Link to a study that explains where the orange comes from in one specific PNW bumble bee

Contribute to our 100th episode:

Want to leave a question for our expert panel on the 100th episode?

Call in with your questions: 541 737 3139

Or email: info@oregonbeeproject.org

State your name and where you are from before asking your question.

Although we estimate there are 500 species of bees in Oregon, there has never been a concerted survey of the state’s bees. Without even a checklist of species, it is very difficult to know whether the health of Oregon bees is improving or declining. The Oregon Bee Atlas represents the first steps towards confronting the gulf in our knowledge about the bees of Oregon.

The success of the Oregon Bee Atlas, like Oregon Flora, rests on the shoulders of committed volunteers. The Oregon Bee Atlas’ four year mission (2018-2021) is to train volunteers to explore Oregon Counties, to seek out new native bee records for the state, to boldly go where no amateur melittologist has gone before! These new specimen records will be added to newly digitized historic records from the Oregon State Arthropod Collection to build the first comprehensive account of the native bee fauna of Oregon.

Joining us to talk about the Atlas is Lincoln Best, the Atlas’ Lead Taxonomist. Lincoln was also featured on episode 50 last year.

“It’s easy to document common species; it’s really difficult to assess the extreme biodiversity that exists here.”
– Lincoln Best.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

Links Mentioned:

Oregon Bee Atlas Website

Oregon Bee Atlas Youtube channel

Follow Linc on social media (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook:) @beesofcanada

Contribute to our 100th episode:

Want to leave a question for our expert panel on the 100th episode?

Call in with your questions: 541 737 3139

Or email: info@oregonbeeproject.org

State your name and where you are from before asking your question.

Aaron Anderson on PolliNation with Andony Melathopoulos

In this episode, Aaron Anderson, a Ph.D. student in the OSU Department of Horticulture, talks about his research on gardening with native plants. Under the direction of Dr. Gail Langellotto, Aaron is researching native plants that support ecosystem services; that gardeners find attractive, and that they would want.

Currently, Aaron is running a large field trial at OSU’s North Willamette Research Center studying 23 native Willamette Valley wildflower species. Aaron monitors the floral bloom, performs timed pollinator observations, and samples the insect community on each plot. Additionally, he is currently asking gardeners to rank the aesthetics of these flowers via an online survey. From this research, Aaron plans on developing pollinator-friendly planting lists of PNW native wildflowers that are also attractive to home gardeners.

Listen in to learn what native plants are best for your garden, both for increasing the health of local pollinators and adding beauty to your garden.

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“There have been very few studies that have been done on the relative attractiveness of different plants to pollinators, especially in a garden-type setting.” – Aaron Anderson

Show Notes:

  • What makes a study like Aaron’s necessary, even with the abundance of free information online
  • Why there is no “superplant” for pollinator gardens
  • Why Aaron chose to study native plants in garden spaces for increasing the health of pollinators
  • How Aaron crafted his study, and what steered his decisions
  • Why the results of two similar studies on the most attractive plants to pollinators came out so different
  • Why native plants are so crucial in attracting honeybees
  • Which plants were found to be the top five for attracting pollinators to your garden
  • How Aaron sees less aesthetically desirable plants adding to the beauty of your garden
  • How the market is shifting from purely aesthetic decisions for gardens towards more functional ideas
  • What’s next for Aaron and his research
  • How you can tell a honeybee apart from other bees

“The nice thing about a lot of these annuals is that if you don’t like how they like after or right before they go to seed, you can really easily just pull them out.” – Aaron Anderson

Links Mentioned: