133 Kim Patten - Pollinator habitat on working farms


Andony Melathopoulos: [00:00:00] From the Oregon State University Extension Service, this is PolliNation, a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators. I'm your host, Dr. Andony Melathopoulos, Assistant Professor in Pollinator Health in the Department of Horticulture.

There's some guests that I have been actively stalking for some time. Kim Patten is at the top of that list. Kim just retired as the Washington State University Extension Pacific County Director, and has spent 30 years helping cranberry farmers and oyster harvesters; two things that you might not see together in any job description anywhere. He spent a lifetime working with pollinators, and if you were at the Pacific Northwest Pollinator Conference and Summit you would have seen him get the prestigious Bill Stevens' Lifetime Achievement Award for all the work that he's done. 

Kim is a permanent fixture in most of my extension talks. You'll probably see a smiling face standing next to a cranberry bog with some blooming heathers at some point when you hear me speak. But, despite my best efforts, including doing some recordings with him by a cranberry bog, I just have not been able to pin him down. This is my opportunity. This is a great episode for farmers who are looking for cost effective ways to create pollinator habitat.

Kim did this years ago, and a lot of this work wasn't really recognized because it was at a time when there wasn't a lot of attention on bees. Anyways, I'm glad to bring this to you. Finally, here's Kim Patton talking to you about building pollinator habitat around working farms.

Okay, Kim. So you've just retired from one of the most unique extension positions, I think, in the Pacific Northwest. Tell us what your position was focused on and where you're located. 

Kim Patten: [00:02:15] Well, I'm at WSU Long Beach, which is sort of in the southwest corner of the state, right where the Columbia river exits, or the other side of the river of Astoria.

It's a one man research station that's been there since the 30s, that was  established to put in to work on cranberries and it sort of survived the millennia of cuts over the last a hundred years or so. And, I was there for 30 years. The position evolved from working with the cranberries to working on and invasive species, to working on shellfish. And so when I retired, it was basically a pest management specialist and dealing with cranberries, invasive species, and shellfish, and it was a blast. Cause I, you know, you got to work on some pretty off the wall things and whatever you did was pretty essential for those industries. And if you weren't doing it, there was some major suffrage by the industry. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:03:32] Well, I do remember you were awarded the Bill Stevens' Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill being one of the premier bee biologists in the Pacific Northwest, and I remember getting letters from the community, and they were so supportive. It was like, you solved...you were like the Jack of all trades... you solved all the problems in that county.

Kim Patten: [00:03:56] Well, that was the fun part of it.  Is like, okay, it's just about solving problems. So what's the biggest problem and how do you solve it? And it's sort of putting together these puzzles and putting together teams and the people and working with all sorts of great people to solve problems. And that's why it was so much fun. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:04:20] Well, one of the things, the reason I've invited you onto the show is cranberries. Now, I think most people, when they think about cranberries, they think about Wisconsin or they think of someplace out East. But the Pacific Northwest does have this cranberry region. Tell us a little bit about the industry, where it's located, and what the cranberries are like. 

Kim Patten: [00:04:39] Cranberries were brought into the Pacific Northwest around the 1880s, both down in the Bandon area, and then sort of the south west corner of Washington. They were  brought in bales of vines from Massachusetts because these areas were very similar to sort of coastal dunes on the East coast where cranberries are wild and it was sort of a burgeoning crop back then.

It was sort of developed over the last a hundred plus years. And it's very unique in terms that it likes sort of this acidic, cool environment. And, and it really never moved out of those areas, and it never really expanded and it grows reasonably well in those areas. It's very shallow rooted, so it doesn't do well unless you can keep it well watered.

And it's a very unique crop. And the conditions for growing at are unique as well as how you grow it, so it's sort of kept within a very restricted area and these parts of the state, but at the same time it's been critical for the economy of those areas for that entire time period.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:05:58] Because there really isn't a lot of crops grown West of the cascades of the coast range. 

Kim Patten: [00:06:06] No, not unless you're talking about shellfish and timber. There is very little. And so this is, one of those successful things. You know, I've grown on a commercial, large scale and so I think Oregon is fourth in the nation, and Washington, fifth in the nation in terms of production. So it's, you know, it's a significant, it's, you know, it's still dwarfed by what they grow in Wisconsin, but still it's very significant.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:06:36] Is there anything unique about growing cranberries here as opposed to there? I mean, you talked about the similarities and one of the reasons it was brought over, but what is kind of strange about growing up here. 

Kim Patten: [00:06:46] Well, they, you know, they prefer acid soils. They, they weren't traditionally grown sort of in a peat environment and, we're much more prone to in these areas on now we can kind of go home and fan with irrigation.

So, initially they were established where they could be growing. This is prior before we had irrigation. So you need sort of the conditions that stayed wet for a long time, but they're very shallow rooted.  They don't do well under really hot conditions, and they liked these acid environments.

So it doesn't leave much of the space as far as growing. And then once they were established, that's where the industry grew up. And because it's, it's sort of this familiarity, and uniqueness, that's where they're grown now. And there are a few people that break out and try to grow them in new areas and they tend to do okay, but the whole support industry for the cranberry growers, it's right where in these little small areas and kind of grow where there's a support industry, like Ocean Spray and so forth. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:07:54] Oh, right. Okay. All right. So we've got it in these little pockets. So Bandon, the Long Beach area, I guess in British Columbia, sort of in and around _____ land.

Kim Patten: [00:08:04] Yeah, there's that area has been, yeah, there's like 7,000 acres and that's really expanding up and up in the Fraser River Valley there. But that's a different story. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:08:15] Okay. So, but cranberries are in the ericaceae family, and they do require pollination. And I know that honeybees are brought in for doing pollination. Maybe just to begin with, just tell us a little bit about the pollination of cranberries and then we'll get into some of the other pollinators.

Kim Patten: [00:08:32] I guess cranberries could be classified as they, you know, they need some kind of a cross-pollination. And they would be, I would call them... pollination challenged.  They have poricidal anthers and so that the pollen doesn't come out very easily and so you kind of almost have to sonicate or vibrate that pollen to shake it loose and that's why bumblebees...

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:09:00] The pollen is on the interior surface of the anther, not like on a Dandelion that's out on the... 

Kim Patten: [00:09:05] Right. And so it kind of has to be vibrated out and so bumblebees, when they go out there and they buzz a frequency, the pollen comes off and they're very good at pollinating these things. Other insects struggle to get that pollen. They don't have a lot of nectar, so there, and there's no very little cellophane. So if you don't have good pollination, you don't have a crop. And, since they bloom usually in June, and we tend to be wet and rainy and miserable, and bees don't really fly that well, and so there's always issues with getting good pollination. You know, in the earlier times prior to large commercial beekeeping ventures that we brought in bees, everyone would be relying on bumblebees and you were kind of dependent on a natural population.

And, you know, the areas were smaller and there was a lot of wild, native environment around there. And the bumblebee populations were generally helping him, so he probably could get by without honeybees. Now we have these denser cropping situations, and if you don't bring in bees and you have a lot of colonies or a lot of acres together and high-producing vines, so your production doesn't do as well.

There are lots of issues with the honeybees and they just don't do as well. And so there's always been an interest in: can we get bumblebees to work better? If you go back, you know, pollination scientists sort of are, are famous for re-inventing pollination research from the last a hundred years or so. So if you go back in the literature, you know, back in the 20s in the 30s and 40s and 50s there was a lot of work on cranberry pollination and so forth. And everyone knew, yeah, bumblebees are great for pollen. And so then there was work done on, "okay, how can you manage these" and building bee boxes and putting them out there and looking at some of the species that were key. And this was, you know, throughout all the big cranberry growing areas. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:11:29] Yeah. Go ahead, Kim. 

Kim Patten: [00:11:31] No, no, go ahead. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:11:32] I was thinking it's like the reinvention of research because you are doing, you kind of picked up on this work and you were doing bumblebee research before, you know, this is back in the 90s when people weren't thinking about bees in the same way. Tell us how you got started with looking at, kind of taking a second look at bumblebees. 

Kim Patten: [00:11:55] Yeah, this was the early nineties. we started, well, we were initially concerned, you know, there was concerns about pesticides on... there wasn't any data on what were the effects of pesticides or a little about picked up pesticides on bumblebees.

And of course, we kind of knew that bumblebees were important, but how could you manipulate them? Looking at sort of the pollination ecology, looking at sort of pesticide toxicology, and then at that time also they were just starting to look at commercialization of bumblebees and that was sort of new and starting to kind of come on stream. So I kind of got involved with a little bit at a time and then it's kind of: "Oh, this is such a fun, sexy project. Just kind of keep going at it because there wasn't that much stuff being done." And it was really exciting. It was all pretty new for me and some of the stuff we were doing, but it was also, you're kind of reinventing some of the wheel. There was a lot of interest cause it seemed like a way that you can easily manipulate or get a better production. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:13:22] It seems like one of the things that you discovered was, and I think is really kind of pivotal to your work that I find fascinating... I use it as an example whenever I talk to people about vegetation management... Is just the matching of the bee species with the crop. And then, you know, matching up all of those things. And I think one thing I'd like you to expand a little bit upon: you found that not all bumblebees are equal because of when they start and finish their nests.

Can you talk a little bit about that? 

Kim Patten: [00:13:51] Yeah. So they're, you know, if you look at the species that were out in the wild, then there were three main ones. There was mixtus, melanopygus, and occidentalis and you started looking at trying to match their biology with the biology of the cranberry. And you would find all species working cranberries but some of them would, like melanopygus, would come in really early and they peak and crash, so you'd get, you know, a good week or so, and cranberry was in bloom fully like a six week period from early June to early July there. So net force would go down and then mixtus would come in, but they would not last as long either. The one strong ones that we were being pretty dominant out there were the occidentalis.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:14:56] So just a pickup on that point. So when you mean crash, something like that blacktail bumblebee, the bombus melanopygus, they'd finish their colony cycle because cranberries are so late. 

Kim Patten: [00:15:12] So they have a short cycle. So, you know, the queen comes out really early in January and February. It has really actually a small, number total population. They'll go through it's entire cycle, and it's over with by the time cranberries start to bloom. So you're just picking up on a few residents, their residual workers and the new queen. They're actually going to work and the actual population was probably a month before you were even in bloom. And almost the same with mixtus. I mean, they're out there, but their peak forces were long beforehand and you're just seeing that residual end of the colony; they die out. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:15:54] Okay, sorry to sidetrack you there. But anyways, you were telling us about occidentalis, the numbers for the Western bumblebee were really, really high. 

Kim Patten: [00:16:05] Yeah. And so if you look at those, we looked at a lot of the colonies and you decide, you know, you're kind of falling there. How many workers? How many male drones? How many queens over the entire time period?But if you'll look at the occidentalis colonies, they were just sort of in peak population during cranberry and they last the entire time period.  And they were in pretty significant numbers and all the farms out there, and that was pretty good. So then you start looking at, well, how do we go about manipulating these populations so that we can make them more dependable, more reliable, and less contingent on environmental factors, and how can we actually build up our populations around their cranberry farms. And so that was kind of the phase two: let's match where, let's see what's out there, let's try to figure out what we need, and now let's see if we can actually manipulate it.

And we looked at, and we use the bumblebee boxes and we put out hundreds and hundreds of these, and we got bees. We got them to nest mostly by melanopygus. But I remained unconvinced that it really changed the population. It was kind of a feel-good thing. Okay. We put out the boxes... there were some bees in there... oh, I've hoped that I saved the world, but I probably didn't do anything to change the population on the farm.  

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:17:41] Okay, that's good because everybody always asks about bumblebee boxes and there's not a lot of people who've had that level of experience. Okay. So you tried bumblebee boxes, and then what did you move on to?

Kim Patten: [00:17:53] Well, then we looked at the whole ecology, the landscape ecology and saying, "Okay, where do you find large numbers of these, and in terms of,  and what's the landscape around that environment?" And, so, you know, these smaller beds, small farms that were three, four, or five acres surrounded by forest, you'd only find, you know, a large population of bees. And so you could figure out, "Well okay, probably, there's a nesting site limiting; it could also be foraged food limiting." And so we started looking at, well, what if it was foraged food limiting, how could you manipulate that and looked at for what's blooming and when, and what's sort of the weak links in the food resources and these queens come out early. You'll start seeing melanopygus queens in January, February, and then February, March, and April. And occidentalis a little bit later. There's not much blooming other than willow and a few other things that are kind of a dicey as far as... I mean, there's enough resources, but they're not necessarily where you want them to be.

So we looked at rows, and what can we row that is easy to grow around farms that is pretty durable, being low maintenance and so forth. We started looking at finding, evaluating a lot of species and what species had to support the population, particularly the queens. And we were particularly interested in newly emerging queens and then in the spring because they sort of really need to build up the reserve. 

And then we were also interested in sort of the late summer resources because there's nothing blooming, and sort of late summer when all the new queens have been mated and they're looking to build up their fat reserves for hibernation, and looking at those two windows and what we can bloom and put out a lot of gardens and looked at and tried to evaluate resources by some of these criteria. Can you grow it easily? Is it easy to establish? Is it not too invasive? Long bloom time and so forth and narrowed it down to a lot of the winter blooming, heaths and heathers and some of the late summer booming heaths and heathers because they're pretty, and they're easy to grow, and they're low maintenance and they tend to do a pretty good job. I don't have any data per se, that's saying, well, if I plant, you know, a quarter acre of these, I can increase my population of bumblebees by X amount. But you can certainly, I think it does bring those queens in around your farm and help them grow. 

I think that intuitively, I've done the research in my head that it is working, but it's really hard to document population dynamics and do these controlled experiments where you're looking at how do you manipulate successfully, a feral population. But it looks pretty good overall and it's been successful. And growers really liked it, and we put a lot of these sites out there.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:21:33] Well, let's take a quick break. I want to come back and talk more about these heather plantings. Let's take a quick break and then, cause I'd like to get into how these are established. I think there's a lot of growers that would like to be interested in these kinds of models. I get this question all the time. Let's take a quick break. 

Kim Patten: [00:21:53] Okay.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:22:05] We're back. I'm really intrigued by this finding of these plants. You said you started out with bee boxes, but then you quickly transitioned onto this idea of putting in a pollinator habitat adjacent to cranberry bogs. Tell us... you did a lot of work, I know, trying to figure out when... before settling on heathers tell us a little bit about the process of, a little bit more about the process of selecting plants.

Kim Patten: [00:22:31] Well, I had a postdoc from New Zealand, Rob McFarland, who was a really good I think overall naturalist. And so he just drove up and down the coast from Northern California up into British Columbia and at different times and sort of surveyed what species the bumblebees were working on and how attractive they were and how many... what species were working what, and what sort of attractiveness. And then we kind of from there, developed some sort of rating scale, and this was both native and non-native, a rating scale of plants and we probably had, I don't know, fifty to a hundred plus plants in there.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:23:20] For the listeners, it was a remarkable study, like I think nobody's really... It happened in the nineties before people were paying attention, but I have never seen anything quite like that study of this broad geographic sweep looking for plants. I find it remarkable and it's, it's a shame that people don't know about this work.

Kim Patten: [00:23:39] Well, and I wish we'd kind of in hindsight there, we should've put a little more academic rigor to it and published it, like a lot of that stuff. But you end up chasing other things over time. But anyhow, we ended up settling on the heathers because they sort of had this nice window of the winter and the late summer in terms of when they could provide resources.

And they really didn't compete with the bloom when cranberries are blooming, cause you don't want to draw stuff away from the bogs, and also during, let's say May to July, there's tons of stuff booming already. You don't need anything else.  I mean, there's everything in the family's out there blooming. I don't think resource plants are the limiting factor out there. But what was limiting the bees was winter and late summer things and, and so that's what we focused on.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:24:46] I can imagine, a dispersing bumblebee flying through a very windy, a very windy coastal landscape, and seeing this spring heather blooming. If I were her, I would make a nest close by. That would be my instinct.

Kim Patten: [00:25:02] Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you can anthropomorphize and put on your bumblebee wings and fly over there and say, "Hey, this is, this is heaven." And we did that lots. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:25:15] But then I imagine that they would, the spring blooming heather would come out of bloom, the cranberries would come, they've already established nests. They'd moved to the cranberry. But then having that summer heather, there still need to complete their reproduction, and so having just enough juice to finish off the nest must increase the population over time, you would think.

Kim Patten: [00:25:37] Yeah. Well, you would think so. And, these plants boom over a long time. I mean, there is two to three months worth of bloom on there. So it's not just a boom and I'm over it. And so it's a sustained resource and I think that's the valuable part of the heathers that are pretty unique to them. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:25:59] And heathers are grown in nurseries. They're not an expensive plant, I imagine, when it comes to shrubs.

Kim Patten: [00:26:06] Yeah, you know, the only thing that they don't have going for them is they're not native really. I mean, there are some native ones, but they're not really, the ones that we grow are not native and people are more attracted to and really want to plant natives for the bumblebees.

But I think if you're looking at it from a production or from a value point of view, these work very well, and they're low maintenance, they're long blooming, easy to establish. They're not too invasive. Now I underline the too. We did in one site we put on, we put them right adjacent to the cranberry bog and they have now grown into the cranberry bog and so they've become a pest in that regard.

So you do have to keep a little bit of a separation, but it's a really good system and they're just so, so durable. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:27:02] Well, now that you have the hindsight of all this experience, tell us if you were a grower and you wanted to establish heathers to attract in bumblebees, what would be the ideal kind of placement, site prep. Do you need irrigation? Tell us a little bit about that. 

Kim Patten: [00:27:18] Yeah. Well, they are fairly drought tolerant. Of course everything grows better if you've got some irrigation. One of the concerns is if they're too close to your farm, or to your actual cranberry bog... we, cranberry growers put all their, they tend to put everything out through their sprinklers, so that would be during... they fumigate through their sprinklers. And so if you're putting out insecticide which you would do after the honeybees are removed and you're putting it through your sprinklers, and if your heathers are blooming and there are bumblebees on that, that could be a risk. So you want them far enough away from the farm, so they would not have some incidental exposure to pesticides.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:28:10] So like a 20 or 30 foot buffer from the bog?

Kim Patten: [00:28:12] Yeah, something like that wouldn't be much, but you want 'em close enough so that they could bring in the bumblebees. Bumblebees will travel some distance. We did a lot of distance work in there. And so, you know, a hundred meters are fine, but beyond that, I think they really start... their density is reduced in terms of their forging. Find a good site that's got some... any sort of site that's relatively easy to grow 'em weed free or whatever. And, and you can buy them from the nursery and grow your own. They're easy to sell through once you, once you have them.

And start them with irrigation. There's some of the winter ones... I mean, there are literally thousands of species of these, well, not strictly species, but thousands of selections and strains out there that are kinda confusing. But heathers, so the winter, like the erica x darleyensis or the erica carnea are... anything in there that's not sort of a showy flower there.

It's pretty, cause you know, you kind of want to mix and match colors and make something that's attractive. And there's some great books on how to grow heathers and what varieties do well. So you would get some for the winter, maybe a mix of the selection there. And, the more space you dedicate to this, probably the better.

And then for the summer you want something that's going to sort of do this July, August, September bloom, and that's sort of the calluna vulgaris and the erica carnea. And there's lots of strain selections and they're also, and just sort of mix and match and you can put them all these together in some sort of pattern or however you want.

But, once they establish, they're pretty much maintenance free. So that first year of irrigation, it's nice, but once they're going there, they're tough. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:30:31] It seems to be that the ones that the WSU extension facility in Long Beach, I remember maybe there was a little bit of horsetail, but really it was clean. Those were old beds and there wasn't a lot of weeds in them. 

Kim Patten: [00:30:46] Initially, we had to weed them a little bit the first year or two, but, they even outgrew the horse tail. I mean, it gets pretty thick in there and they can be pretty aggressive within themselves. So you do want to give them, you don't want to put them too close to the bog, as you noticed. That's where they grew into, or one of our research bogs. But, they do take care of the weeds themselves quite well if you give them a chance. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:31:18] Did you lay... in the ones that you've done... weed fabric necessary to help them out? Or is that kind of overkill.

Kim Patten: [00:31:27] Sure!

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:31:29] Yeah. Okay. Cause we're not talking, we're not talking about an acre of heather. We're talking about like a 12 feet by.... 

Kim Patten: [00:31:39] Yeah. You could put in some weed mat or something like that for, you know, you're probably getting one gallon containers from a nursery. You can lay them out there and weed mat, and it would make it really make it pretty easy to do that.

Throw in some irrigation for the first year, or even shorter term mulch or even mulch treat your weeds. I mean, there's lots of options and they're relatively an easy to grow landscape plant.  And compared to a lot of other things. They also, you know, they don't have a lot of height so they're not, they're not going to obscure your view. You're not going to have to prune them or train them or do anything with them in the future. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:32:25] I have to say it looks nice from the farm. I remember being in Milton-Freewater this summer and there was a beautiful lavender hedge right by the road, by the vineyard, and it just made the farm look nice.

Kim Patten: [00:32:37] Yeah. And you know, lavender is another one of those that look nice too. Lavender can overgrow into some of the other plots and things, but you know a lot of these other plants that I think have a dual purpose of, especially around farms, that you might get customers in there in terms of they're pretty.

I will say that... Can I document that I have increased my population of bumblebees on the farms already for this? Probably not just because there's too many other variables out there controlling populations, but you do see a lot of queens working those things, and so you're assuming they're nesting somewhere close to that area.

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:33:27] It must be hard though to measure that. I mean,  I've seen studies where they look at agricultural landscapes and they may look at a bee recruitment, but they're talking about small bees. Bumblebees have a long flight range. And the other thing I think people may not appreciate about the, either the Bandon area or Long Beach, is there's a lot of natural habitat. It's really not like other farming. You have a bog in and amongst the forest.

Kim Patten: [00:33:52] Yeah, so there is not a lot of other places. I mean, it is hard to track these things and where do they go and where they work. Now actually, Bandon is really unique because in some of these farms it's just surrounded by a hundred and in some cases thousands of acres of gorse. And gorse is very competitive. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:34:14] Have you ever seen a bee on gorse? 

Kim Patten: [00:34:18] I have never seen a bee on gorse. I mean, it would be great if they were on gorse. Maybe there's probably some other solid, other pollinators working in gorse, but I don't, I've never seen anything. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:34:36] The last thing, I just want to maybe just a tie things off. It's not an easy place for bees to be.

I mean, I don't think we have tremendous bee biodiversity west of the coast. It is a windy place. And I imagine for honeybees it can be hard. There must be days when the bees just cannot get out. 

Kim Patten: [00:34:55] Oh, we spent a lot of time looking at, okay, can we manipulate honey bees? And, you know, we can feed them, we can build the certain structures around there looking at when they work and how they work, and can you change them from being a honey collectors to pollen collectors and all this kind of stuff. And what affects their health. And you know, it's messy and it's sloppy and it's really hard to, they just don't like cranberries and the way around that as you just buy or rent lots and lots of bumblebees, I mean honeybees, and just saturate it. And if you're lucky, you get three or four days of good weather and the honey bees do their job.

But I think getting a lot of the bloom on the early end and the tail end are probably going to be contingent on the bumblebee. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:35:57] Well, thanks so much for taking the time and I hope our cranberry growers are safe. I know they've got to do a lot of work right now with the Covid-19 it's a difficult situation to do works or, you know, tip our hats to all our cranberry growers in the Pacific Northwest for continuing to keep the crop going. 

Kim Patten: [00:36:14] I guess, as you were saying, that reminded me of what happened to our native bombus occidentalis. A disease came in and wiped out that population and they don't exist anymore. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:36:30] That's a good point because we were talking about occidentalis, the Western bumblebee, and the studies you did in the 90s were really the predominant ones. But really, because with the diseases that were introduced, they really have retreated. The range reduction of Western bumblebee is a really sad story.

Kim Patten: [00:36:49] Yeah. So it brings him back to home and makes it current that, you know, this is not just stuff that affects us as humans. It affects the natural population on natural colonies of the native species. You know what I mean? 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:37:05] Yeah, sadly. Well, stay safe Kim, and thanks for taking time to talk to us about this and I hope lots of growers get ideas because I think what you've developed is a really cost effective, easy to implement system that, could be used at least in the Willamette Valley. I can see this being something that would fit really well into a lot of farms. 

Kim Patten: [00:37:32] Oh, it's my pleasure. And you're doing a great job. 

Andony Melathopoulos: [00:37:34] Thanks a lot, Kim.

Thank you so much for listening. The show is produced by Quinn Sinanan Neal, who's a student here at OSU in the new media communications program, and the show wouldn't even be possible without the support of the Oregon Legislature, The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and Western Sare. Show notes with links mentioned on each episode are available on the website, which is at pollinationpodcast.Oregonstate.edu 

I also love hearing from you and there's several ways to connect with me. The first one is you can visit the website and leave an episode specific comment, you can suggest a future guest or topic, or ask a question that could be featured in a future episode. But you can do the same things on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, by visiting the Oregon Bee Project.

Thanks so much for listening and see you next week.


Putting habitat into a working farm involves juggling operational constraints and pollinator biology. In this episode we hear about an innovative example of how PNW cranberry growers are attracting and boosting bee populations around their bogs.

Kim recently retired from Washington State University as Extension professor stationed at Long Beach Long Beach Research and Extension Unit. He was also the Pacific County Extension director. He spent 30 years helping cranberry farmers and oyster harvesters, but also made great advances in our understanding of the habitat requirements of coastal bumble bees and reduce pesticide risks to these bees in cranberry production. Kim received the William P. Stephen Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for his numerous contributions.

You can Subscribe and Listen to PolliNation on Apple Podcasts.

And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!

Links Mentioned:

Was this page helpful?

Related Content from OSU Extension

Have a question? Ask Extension!

Ask Extension is a way for you to get answers from the Oregon State University Extension Service. We have experts in family and health, community development, food and agriculture, coastal issues, forestry, programs for young people, and gardening.