It’s not often you hear conversations like this: “So, as long as the clouds were thick, they were calm and OK but as soon as the sun broke through, there was this really loud humming building up right behind the cab of my truck! I mean, they were safe and all but, wow … the first test in owning/moving bees!”
Despite the threat of rain (well, OK, there was rain in the morning), canopies went up, craft materials were set out and chairs were moved into place for folks to sit and listen to the speakers who enlightened the crowd on everything from ways to protect our bee population to how queen bees are bred! Many in attendance were either new or seasoned beekeepers. Some of us just came to learn about our “neighbors,” to play or for the honey goods
In doing research for my festive attire for the day (yes, I did), I discovered that queen bees do have stingers, as do the worker bees, which are female. I had decided to don a crown, so didn’t want to make a fashion/biology faux pas with a colorful “ovipositor” — which is actually an organ used to place eggs in specific places but also has a venom gland attached to it. The drones are males, mainly hanging around to fertilize the queen, hence have no stingers. Just FYI.
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Having been the site for the Ollalieberry Festival the previous day, the beautiful garden of the museum was already full of happy juju. Ladies helped visitors make their own flowered hats out of paper plates and silk flowers, a lovely compliment to the stretches of poppies, hollyhocks and all that surrounded the grounds.
There also was a booth with bee-friendly plants. As research has proven, plants that are bioengineered with pesticides to fight pests indiscriminately kill beneficial bugs as well, such as bees. Look for these “pesticide-free plants.”
The Central Coast Beekeepers Alliance had an active cell from a hive behind glass (to protect the bees as well as humans!) and jars of the most beautiful lemon yellow honey I’d ever seen! Other purveyors of honey also had amazing close-up photos of bees in action and in various stages of development.
“Bee porn!” Oh, the puns abounded this day, let me tell you. “Our speakers will be presenting their talks back there where folks are swarming. … ” And so it went.
Beekeepers, master gardeners, make-your-own- beeswax candles, face painting, handcrafts … there was a little something for everyone.
And, as if the sun coming out and all this fun stuff weren’t enough, the event concluded with a “Buzzy Pets Parade.” Dogs of all sizes and breeds were decked out in wings and antennae … but, leading the parade around the block this year, Sunshine, The Wonder Cat in a very snappy bee suit (yes, he was!) on a very festively festooned carriage with nasturtiums and greenery.
Perhaps the weather kept folks off the street on a Sunday afternoon but, we all “Yoohoo-ed” into businesses (Mozzi’s patrons, I believe, did a double take then waved). I love this town.
All in all, it was quite the hive of activity. Now if we can keep the buzz going for how to support our bees …