Honeybees are one of the most important insects for the environment. They pollinate 30 percent of flowering crops and 90 percent of wild plants - plants such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers need bees in order to grow. It is easy to see why bees are so important for the human diet, as well as other mammals, and even plant life. Imagine a summer without your favorite fruit or Thanksgiving without pumpkins. Festivals like the blueberry and strawberry festival would be non-existent without bees. Join the Cumberland County Beekeepers Association on Aug. 29 to learn more about this tiny but important creature.

With such a vital role to play in the food chain, it’s important to keep bees and their hives healthy. Unfortunately, in recent years, hives across the nation have faced Colony Collapse Disorder at an alarming rate. There are several theories about Colony Collapse Disorder and what might cause it, but there is still no solution. 

The Cumberland County Bee Keepers association will show participants how to manage bees, take care of the hives and collect honey. Managing bees without getting stung is an art form. Beekeepers use smokers to trick the bees into thinking their hive is on fire. This calms the bees down so beekeepers can change out the different compartments to retrieve the honey. 

While many people are afraid of bees, they are usually harmless. However, there are a few things that people can do to lessen their chances of encountering bees. Wearing black attracts bees because their natural born enemies are bears. Bees will gravitate towards people wearing darker colors. Bees are drawn to the carbon dioxide, which comes from our nose and mouth. This is why beekeepers wear nets over their faces to keep the bees from stinging. 

Depending on which plants bees pollinate, the taste of their honey can vary. Sometimes the differences are subtle, but wildflower honey is not the same as orange blossom honey. There are up to 300 types of honey in the United States. Bees work all summer long to fill their hive with honey for the winter so they might survive the cold weather. 

Honey can be used in a variety of ways. For example, honey is useful as a cough medicine, to treat wounds, as scalp aid, an energy booster and to
reduce allergies. 

Come and join the Cumberland County Beekeepers Association on Aug. 29 at Carvers Creek State Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Exercise caution if allergic to bees they will be in an enclosed net. 

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