Nothing like a little closeness to nature to get your mind off something bothering you.  It works for many people in many circumstances. 

Pam Mindt has a story to tell in this vein; she's a retired colonel in the National Guard who served in Iraq, among many places.  And she likes bees. 

She found that beekeeping was therapeutic, both for her and for buddies coping with PTSD at the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch


Bee appreciation continues its upswing in the United States.  Just take a look in your neighborhood, and see if any of your neighbors have planted pollinator gardens. 

Honeybees and their output are celebrated at the Oregon Honey and Mead Festival, coming this weekend to Ashland. 

Sharon Schmidt is a beekeeper and the festival founder.  She visits the studio, while we get Amina Harris on the phone. 

Dr. Harris is the director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the University of California-Davis. 

U.S. Geological Survey

If you spot a bumble bee that looks interesting, now you have a bigger reason to tell someone.  Several organizations are joining together to create a Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas.


Are we in love with bees?  And sadly, is it too late for the relationship? 

Bees have been around a long time and are a critical part of life on Earth, but they are in deep trouble in many areas. 

Conservation biologist Thor Hanson, who joined us in the past with his book on seeds, returns with his latest: Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

From the evolutionary roots of 125 million years ago to the pollinator gardens of today, there's a lot to learn. 


Massive die-offs of bees in recent years convinced many people that it was time to pull back on the use of the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. 

And while there is evidence that they are being used less, studies show neonics are still showing up where bees live... at levels above what is safe for them. 

Safe for people, perhaps, but bad for bees. 

Bee expert Dr. Dewey Caron gives us the basic science, Dr. Susan Kegley at the Pesticide Research Institute talks about the poisons; John Jacob, president of the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association, gives a local view. 


Society seems to have gained a new appreciation for bees.  Mostly for their work as pollinators... but can we pause for a moment and say thanks for the honey? 

Honey and all the things that can be made from it--including the alcoholic drink mead--will be celebrated this weekend at the Oregon Honey Festival in Ashland. 

The mind may boggle at the variety of eats and drinks that honey can lead to. 

Tracking The Causes Of Bee Deaths

Jan 3, 2017

It's been more than a decade since beekeepers began noticing huge die-offs of bees in their care, in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, or CCD. 

Science is perhaps closer to understanding the causes of CCD, but not to stopping it outright.  And the public at large has a stake, since bees pollinate so many of the crops we depend upon for food. 

Biologist Sainath Suryanarayanan and sociologist Daniel Lee Kleinman teamed up to explore bee plague and human reaction, in a book called Vanishing Bees

Bees Bring The Booze

Dec 7, 2016

Bees get credit for a lot of good deeds. 

But supplying the drinks for a party?  Indeed, one of humankind's oldest beverages traces its lineage back to bees, and that's mead. 

Nectar Creek in the Willamette Valley makes meads of many flavors for responsible comsumption. 

Pollinator Pro Explains The Challenges

Sep 20, 2016
Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia/Public Domain

Some people have a reason to truly fear bees, because they're allergic to bee stings.  But everyone on the planet owes a debt to bees, because of the critical role they play in putting food on our tables. 

They pollinate the crops that provide our food. 

Dr. Gabriela Chavarria can probably recite bee benefits in her sleep; she is renowned as an expert on bees and other pollinators. 

And she works at the National Forensics Laboratory run by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service in Ashland. 

Merging Bees, Activism, And Art

Aug 18, 2016
Ashland Honey Festival

The Oregon Honey Festival aims to make itself sweet and sticky to a variety of tastes.  Presenters range from bee scientists to honey sellers to artists. 

And it's in that last category you'll find Meesha Goldberg of Eugene.  One of her projects is a combination of performance art and ritual and activism called "Equilibrium Rites;" Goldberg and companions mirrored the annual pollination of California almond groves. 

Works of art from the project are on display at a gallery in Los Angeles for another week. 

Feting The Founder Of The Feast

Aug 15, 2016

All things bee are celebrated on Saturday, August 20th, at the Oregon Honey Festival in Ashland. 

Our appreciation of pollination has grown in recent years, as bee numbers have continued to decline. 

Entomologist Dr. Lynn Royce has studied bee population declines, and her nonprofit Tree Hive Bees aims to put bees where they naturally belong: in trees. 


Bees have more friends in high places than they once had.  Large die-offs of bee populations have convinced people to take greater care of bees and other pollinators. 

Bee City USA formed a few years ago to identify bee-friendly communities across the country, and three neighboring Rogue Valley cities--Ashland, Talent, and Phoenix--are among the first 15 cities so designated. 

Southern Oregon University, now designated a "Bee Campus," hosts a conference on pollinators and the issues they face, this weekend. 

Maybe you know one of those people who is just afraid of bees, and runs when they come near.  They may not change quickly, but society's attitude toward bees is evolving. 

Massive bee kills and ongoing population problems have highlighted the importance of, and challenges to, bees. 

They got their own day this year, with August 15th designated Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day in Oregon. 

Beekeeping For Beginners

Apr 17, 2015

So many people are interested in beekeeping right now, the next beginner class at the Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association sold out. 

The word is spreading about just how important bees are to the pollination of many plants, including many we depend upon for food. 

So we'll present something of a mini-class for beginners. 

Blooms Too Early For Bees

Mar 17, 2015

The official start of spring is not until Friday, March 20th.  But the weather in much of the region has been spring-like for weeks. 

And that means flowers are blooming, and fruit trees are ready for pollination by bees. 

Trouble is, the bees aren't ready. 

Sarah Red-Laird, the Rogue Valley's "Bee Girl," is concerned the bees will not have enough to eat later in the year. 

Pollinator Recommendations Deliver A Sting

Dec 2, 2014

The thousands of bees that died in Oregon a couple of summers ago did not die in vain. 

The die-off, a result of pesticide use, increased awareness of both the value of bees (and other pollinators) and the perils of ignorance in chemical use. 

The Xerces Society and other groups that want more protections for pollinators hailed the formation of a task force to make recommendations to the legislature. 

The task force recently presented its work, and Xerces is less than pleased. 

Sweet Time At The Oregon Honey Festival

Nov 14, 2014

Maybe the physical environment is tough, but the cultural climate is really good for bees right now. 

The mass bee kills of 2013 in Oregon only added to a growing concern over the fate of bees and other pollinators. 

And the fruits of their efforts will be celebrated this weekend at the Oregon Honey Festival

Building A Better Bee

Aug 13, 2014

Bees are critically important to plants and the food supply, and they've had serious survival problems in recent years. 

We could work to remove all possible health hazards for bees from the environment, but that's a long and slow process. 

What we could also do is work to breed "tougher" bees, bees with greater resistance to mites and disease. 

Southern Oregon Beekeepers Association President John Jacob is involved in the effort to breed sturdier bees. 

A Week To Celebrate Pollinators

Jun 18, 2014

How much of what we take for granted in the plant world would disappear without pollinators? 

We probably don't want to find out. 

Problems with bee colony die-offs in recent years pointed out the many things bees and other pollinators make possible. 

Those accomplishments are celebrated during Pollinator Week this week. 

Eugene Takes Action On Pesticides

Mar 10, 2014

It's not easy to say "neonicotinoid pesticide," perhaps harder still to pass legislation regulating it. 

The Oregon Legislature backed off new regulations on the pesticides, opting instead for further study and a task force. 

This is the class of pesticides blamed for a major bee kill near Portland in Summer 2013.