BOZEMAN – Montana State University hosted a clean-up event to get its Pollinator Garden ready for honey bees.
MSU manages ten different colonies of honey bees that it does research on to study bee viruses.
Each colony hosts about 40,000 bees, meaning that on the farm alone there are more than 400,000 honey bees.
Assistant Professor Michelle Flenniken strapped on some gloves and got down in the dirt to get the garden ready for summer, the bee’s busiest time of the year.
“Managed honey bees have experienced about 33 percent annual losses in the US,” said Flenniken.
It wasn’t just Flenniken who came out to do maintenance on the garden. The event was open to the public and MSU student Caness Orcutt decided to take part in the action by raking and pulling up weeds.
Orcutt decided to help out with this project after she heard one of Flenniken’s speeches on bees.
“(I’m) not only just helping with the bees and keeping them alive but learning more about all of the plants that they do enjoy and stuff. It’s really cool it’s a great learning experience,” said Orcutt.
Flenniken believes there are many different factors that have caused bees species to decline over the years including habitat destruction, chemical exposure, and viruses. She spends most of her time focusing on studying the different diseases and viruses catch to find out how to save them.
“There are many pieces to the puzzle and I am happy to be providing a role as a scientist in addressing this question,” said Flenniken.