Before beekeeping became intertwined with industrial agriculture, with hives being shipped around the nation and sired by queens from a handful of California producers, the keeping of bees was a unique occupation that entailed a certain connection with nature. A vegetable farmer might manage 20 acres, but a beekeeper—even with only a few hives—effectively farms a few thousand acres. Within this relatively vast area, the bees seek out and utilize a remarkable collection of resources—hazelnut pollen in January for midwinter broodrearing, poplar resin in March for propolis, water from nearby streams and seeps, nectar from maple trees in April and blackberries in June, pollen from from the last dandelions in October. To truly understand the bees, and to select for those bees that are most adapted to our climate, it is necessary to have a rich bioregional knowledge base. In this presentation, Mark will paint a picture of the annual cycle of honey bees in the Willamette Valley, offer suggestions to aspiring beekeepers in each season, and make a case for truly "local" bees that are better adapted to our area.
MORE ABOUT MARK
Mark Luterra has a BA in Biology from Carleton College, a PhD in Biological and Ecological Engineering from OSU, a notorious sweet tooth, and a high tolerance for bee venom. He has been making mead since 2009 and keeping bees since 2011. Mark works for Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, where his nine hives pollinate kale, chicory, zinnias, and other seed crops. When not tending his bees, he is tinkering with equipment designs, weeding his oversized garden, climbing Mary's Peak at odd hours for sunrises and meteorological anomalies, and writing/singing folk songs.