By Andony Melathopoulos, OSU Assistant Professor – Pollinator Health Extension
Hybrid carrot seed production is one of the biggest honey bee pollination events in Oregon, involving almost 10,000 of the state’s honey bee colonies.
Beekeepers began moving bees into fields at the end of June and last week the fields were quickly approaching full bloom (with a few fields already showing signs of significant seed set). Like other hybrid production systems, the name of the game is moving pollen from a couple of rows of pollen donning plants (male-fertile) to larger rows of flowers that lack male flower parts (male-sterile) (see above).
Also in bloom were alfalfa seed fields, where alfalfa leafcutter bees could be seen busily flying from their commercial domiciles, but also fields of dill seed and mint, both of which are visited by pollinating bees. Although much of the surrounding native plant bloom was over, there were some great diversity of native bees on cultivated lavender and asters.