Missoula area beekeepers will be all abuzz with excitement on Friday, April 29 when UM bee researcher and co-owner of Bee Alert Technology, Jerry Bromenshenk picks up a trailer full of packaged honey bees for local beekeepers from Polson company, Western Bee. This year the packages will be distributed and installed in local beekeepers’ apiaries and the Lommasson Garden on the UM campus. The Lommasson Garden is located behind the Lommasson Building here on the gorgeous University of Montana’s campus and is home to numerous plants that are grown to provide fresh food, and now a beehive. The bees will pollinate garden plants, be used for UM research purposes and produce honey.
The bees will be installed on April 29. Garden manager, Stasia Orkwiszewski will help acclimate the bees to their new home, where they will do their jobs as native pollinators of the more than 60 varieties of plants that thrive in UM’s garden.
“We are looking forward to having honey bee partners work with us in the garden,” said Stasia. The garden already produces nearly 2,000 pounds of vegetables for campus dining, and the addition of honey bees ensures a high pollination rate. This beehive will produce natural, raw honey as well, with the potential to be used in UM dining creations.
Scott Debnam, who also performs bee research at UM, will help care for the bees on a day-to-day basis and serve as consultants to UM Dining.
Students and members of the public are encouraged to visit the garden and see the bees at work and enjoy the atmosphere of the garden itself. UM is a legally registered apiary in 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 Bromenshenk, Scott Debnam, and Phillip Welch. More information can be found at umt.edu/bee.