Bridgetown Bees was founded in 2012 by Glen Andresen and Tim Wessels, two beekeepers who live—and keep honey bees—in Northeast Portland, Oregon. Tim retired from Bridgetown Bees in 2016 but continues to keep bees in North and Northeast Portland.
The primary mission of Bridgetown Bees is to selectively breed and raise queen bees in the city of Portland that are suitable for year-round survival here and in other cities in the Pacific Northwest. To that end, the starting point is to use larvae from “mother colonies” of honey bees that have successfully overwintered in the city and have never been treated for mites, other pests, or diseases. In addition, we saturate as much as possible our breeding area of Northeast Portland with “father colonies” that have also over-wintered without treatment. Once (if?) over-wintering characteristics have been established, other factors, including honey production, gentleness, and low-swarming tendencies, will also be a part of the breeding program. If we are successful in our mission, these queens will be sold to city beekeepers.
Why We Do It
Helping reduce the decline of honeybees in our region is an integral goal of our mission for Bridgetown Bees. Since 2006, honeybees have been dying off at an unsustainable rate with billions of bees disappearing in the U.S. and losses estimated at greater than 30-40 percent per year. As beekeepers and concerned citizens for the plight of the honeybee, we decided to take a more active role in gaining a better understanding of the issues surrounding this incredible insect. Today, there are half as many beekeepers as there were in the 1980’s.
The collapse of honeybee populations also threatens the security of our food supply since honeybee pollination is critical to the cultivation of over a third of our food supply in America. Current research to find solutions continues to be a complex endeavor for scientist and entomologist but as beekeepers work to improve honeybee health, local community members can help too.