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WashCoMaster Gardeners Association is hosting an online event on Oregon's wide range of native bees next month.

COURTESY PHOTO: WASHINGTON COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS ASSOCIATION - The Washington County Master Gardeners Association will be hosting a free online webinar about Oregon's 600 species of bees."Take a Walk on the Wild Side" while learning about Oregon's 600 different species of bees with a free webinar hosted by the Washington County Master Gardener Association.

The nonprofit is holding the free Zoom webinar from 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6. Registration is required for "Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Native Bees of Oregon."

Andony Melathopoulos, a pollinator specialist and assistant professor in Horticulture at Oregon State University will be joined by Susan Albright, Washington County master gardener and bee specialist to teach and answer questions.

The discussion will cover "some of the strange and weird bees" that are native to Oregon, according to a press release.

Albright has participated in the "bumblebee atlas" project conducted by Portland nonprofit the Xerces Society.

After a mass bee die-off in the Argyle Square parking lot in Wilsonville nearly a decade ago, the Xerces Society investigated. The most recent study on the die-off found that pesticide was the root cause of the deaths.

The Xerces Society estimated the death toll to be between 45,000 and 108,000, most of which were a single species (B. vosensenskii).

Other research thought that linden tree nectars, lower temperatures, the day of the event being late in the blooming season and a lack of nectar to sustain energy may have been the cause.

Since the Argyle Square die-off, local cities have stepped up efforts to protect and nurture bees, which are vital pollinators and an essential part of the ecosystem. Hillsboro, Tualatin, Wilsonville and West Linn have become affiliates of Bee City USA, along with eight other Oregon cities.

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