08/10/14 — Community can learn about bees at annual celebration

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Community can learn about bees at annual celebration

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 10, 2014 1:50 AM


Prepare to bee-amazed, but don't worry about getting stung unless it is with a desire to raise your own bees after attending the second annual National Honey Bee Day Celebration.

The event is planned for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Old Waynesborough Park, 801 U.S. 117 Bypass South.

Sponsored by Beekeepers of the Neuse, the focus of the free event is to help educate the public about the importance of the honey bee and to promote beekeeping, said Jessica Strickland, Wayne County Extension agent.

"It is national day, but they encourage local beekeepers, beekeeper clubs and groups to celebrate within their communities and within their counties," she said. "It is one that this club last year started in Wayne County."

Each year the event has a national theme, and this year's is "Sustainable Gardening Begins with Honey Bees."

"There will be an observation hive, and beekeepers will be on hand to answer questions and to talk about beekeeping and honey," Mrs. Strickland said.

People also will able to see backyard chicken coops as well as goats, and a demonstration by members of the Extension Service's Master Gardeners.

Antique farm equipment will be on display. Other activities will include wax melting demonstrations, mushroom growing demonstrations, vermicomposting (using worms), vendors, food, face painting, local honey, candles, lip balm and soaps.

Honey will be on sale as well.

Nearly 200 people attended last year's event.

Beekeepers of the Neuse is a very active group and members will be at the event handling different stations. Education is the goal, Mrs. Strickland said.

"A lot of people are scared of bees," she said. "They have a misconception of them, but really it is just like if somebody invaded your home, you would be upset and territorial. Honey bees are the same way.

"If you do bother them, they can be a bit aggressive, but otherwise they are looking for food and nectar and honey and if you leave that alone and their hive alone, most of the time they are not an issue. We have beekeepers who don't actually use (protective) suits a lot when the are handling them. They just don't have a big problem with bees stinging them."

Beekeeping is a growing hobby in the county, Mrs. Strickland added. Beekeepers of the Neuse has more than 100 members.

"Some are doing it to have a business to sell honey or sell honey bee products, to make lotions or soaps," she said. "But a lot of them are backyard hobbyist who want to have beehive or two in their back yard. They find it fascinating, but also they want to contribute to helping increase the honey bee population that has been in decline."

Honey bees are needed to pollinate vegetable and fruit crops. Without the bees certain crops would not exist, she said.

For more information call Bill Thering, Beekeepers of the Neuse president, at 919-735-1983 or Mrs. Strickland at 919-731-1525.