MISSOULA – Local beekeepers will be abuzz with excitement on Friday, April 29, as a delivery of honey bees arrives in Missoula. One beehive will find a new home in University of Montana’s Lommasson Garden.
Jerry Bromenshenk, a UM bee researcher and co-owner of Bee Alert Technology, will deliver a trailer full of live, packaged honey bees from Western Bee, a Polson company. The bees will be installed in local beekeepers’ apiaries and used for UM research purposes at the Fort Missoula and Mount Sentinel apiaries.
Some of the bees will take on jobs as pollinators of the more than 60 varieties of plants in UM’s garden.
“We are looking forward to having honey bee partners work with us in the garden,” said Stasia Orkwiszewski, who manages the garden.
The garden already produces nearly 2,000 pounds of vegetables for UM Dining, and the addition of honey bees ensures a higher pollination rate. This beehive will produce natural, raw honey, with the potential to be used in UM dining creations.
Scott Debnam, another UM bee researcher, will help care for the bees on a day-to-day basis and serve as a consultant to UM Dining.
Students and members of the public are encouraged to visit the garden and see the bees at work. UM is a legally registered apiary within the state of Montana.
If individuals want to learn more about keeping their own bees, they are encouraged to take the online beekeeping certificate program through UM’s School of Extended & Lifelong Learning, taught by Jerry Bromenshenk, Scott Debnam and Phillip Welch. More information can be found online at http://www.umt.edu/bee.