Oklahoma’s Mason Bee Ranch
Oklahoma’s Mason Bee Ranch is a project spearheaded by Cathy Johnson and is the first of its kind in Oklahoma. Ms. Johnson is concerned about the loss of honey bees in what is referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is the sudden mass loss of bees and frequently devastates entire bee colonies. Because of this complex disorder, honey bees are dying off faster than they can reproduce. This problem extends beyond the United States and includes other places such as Australia, Germany, Canada, France and the UK.
It is important to note that this loss isn’t just about honey. Statistics claim that over 30 percent of United States food crops rely on insect pollination with much of this pollination being performed by bees. Additionally, as beekeepers retire, younger generations are not taking up this essential occupation.
After yearlong research and study, Ms. Johnson submitted an Oklahoma Diversification grant application to Oklahoma’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry for their consideration. Ms. Johnson’s application was approved and Oklahoma’s Mason Bee Ranch specializing in native mason bees was born.
It is important to note that Orchard Mason Bees are native to North America and are excellent and efficient pollinators. Scientists know them as Osmia Lignaria. Mason bees do not live in hives and they do not produce honey. Mason bees are not aggressive, rarely sting and can be encouraged to nest when given the proper environment. Mason bees are so called because they construct their nests out of materials like mud and small pebbles.
In order to protect pollinators, it is important not to use pesticides indiscriminately and when bees and other pollinators are present.
For more information about this project, please contact Ms. Cathy Johnson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.