Presenter: Rosanna Mattingly, PhD, Beargrass Press

Honey Bee Biology

Honey bees entering and leaving the beehive as they bring in “the goods” are mesmerizing. And yet, how do they find them, how do they collect them, and why? Although humans have long noticed that insects carry pollen as they move from one flower to another, it’s been said that the drama of the ancient relationship between plants and pollinators remained a secret until Charles Darwin showed that more than buzzing was going on . . . During this session, we’ll gain perspective on this intricate relationship as we focus on some of the finely tuned structures of the honey bee and explore how they enable the bee to navigate life both inside and outside the beehive. And we’ll remind ourselves that, even as we consider the body parts that support the bee’s awesome interaction with plants, the beehive, and one another, the honey bee is phenomenally more than the sum of the parts!

Note: Whether able to attend this session or not, be sure to visit the Honey Bee Lab in the Willamette Foyer during the conference, where you’ll able to take a closer look at some of the parts. Come prepared for beauty.


 Author and publisher of Honey-Maker: How the Honey Bee Worker Does What She DoesRosanna Mattingly serves as editor of the OSBA newsletter and keeper of the website. She participated as a member of the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program planning committee at the program’s inception, and recently assumed responsibility as editor of the journal of the Western Apicultural Society. Rosanna’s formal education in the biological/ecological sciences and research on streams and rivers both inform and add perspective to her years of keeping bees. Organisms in a stream and inside a beehive effectively assimilate/integrate what takes place in the surrounding landscape. In essence, they reflect the profound interconnectedness of the all that occurs on this good earth and have much to teach us of time, place, and life.