Spring in Oregon is wonderful for many reasons!

Days are getting longer, the grass is getting greener, and plants are starting to come alive again.

What happens along with the blooming of all of Oregon’s beautiful flowers, blossoms, and flowering fruits and vegetables is a remarkable process known as pollination.

Pollination is the process of the transfer of pollen from the reproductive organs of one plant to another in order to form seeds. This is vital to the survival of many crops that feed the world.

Pollination can happen in many ways including wind, animals, or insects.

“Pollination is not just important for the food we eat directly, it’s vital for the foraging crops, such as field beans and clover, used to feed the livestock we depend on for meat. Just as importantly, it helps to feed many other animals in the food chain and maintains the genetic diversity of the flowering plants.”

BBC, 2019

Among the most essential pollinators of wild and agricultural crops in Oregon is the honey bee. Known by scientists as Apis mellifera, the honey bee is not native to North America. The first honey bees were brought over by European settlers in the 1620’s. Thanks to their large perennial colonies that are easily transportable, honey bees are now the largest commercial pollinator in the world!

Fun Facts About Honey Bees:

  • Honey bees are very social in their nesting habits
  • One hive can house on average 25,000 individuals, all that came from the same reproductive queen bee.
  • Honey bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey
  • A honey bee can fly up to 15 miles per hour
  • Male honey bee’s are called drones
  • A honey bee can visit between 50 and 100 flowers during one collection trip

Do you want to teach your students about pollination? Check out The Beeman book and the Busy, Bee’s Kit from our Free Loan Library!

The Beeman is a sweet story of a boy and his grandfather who is a beekeeper. The story teaches students about the amazing  and complex life of bees, how they help pollinate plants, and how honey is collected by beekeepers for us to eat. The kit allows students to “become” bees and pollinate different Oregon crops.