The Central Coast is Club Med for bees. That’s what those white boxes perched along the highway are here for. They are beehives, where bees can spend the cold rainy winter as they prepare for the spring pollination season.
Our food system depends on bees to pollinate at least 90 nut, fruit and vegetable crops so they produce fruit. Honeybees account for a third of our food production, about $15 billion dollars’ worth. Native pollinators such as bumblebees account for $9 billion more.
Bees are struggling, though. Their hives sometimes die off completely because of Colony Collapse Disorder. The number of hives has declined from 6 million in 1947 to only 2.5 million today. Several problems are causing them loss – toxic pesticides, loss of natural forage, parasite infestations and disease.
Beautify Cambia Association invites Central Coast residents and visitors to celebrate and help the bees at the annual Bee Faire, from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at Cambria’s Historical Museum, 2252 Center St.
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All are welcome at the free event. Local honey, honey foods, beauty products and other honey goods will be for sale from local beekeepers. Honey varies, depending on what kind of flowers the bees are feeding on. Visitors can try a different kind and appreciate the nuances of flavor.
The Bee Faire also offers opportunities to learn about bees and other pollinators from books and brochures. Cambria’s Lady Tie Di, Dianne Brooke, will emcee the activities again this year, introducing speakers on gardening for bees, backyard beekeeping, native bumblebees and humane hive relocation. Bees swarm to form a new hive. Swarms are not dangerous. They are valuable new colonies. Hear about humane swarm removal.
A swarm formed on the outside wall at Hearst Castle recently. Guides rerouted tours through another door to give them their space while awaiting a swarm collector.
Visitors will be able to learn about the kinds of plants that attract and feed bees. Pollinator-friendly plants will be for sale.
Or you can a hat with the Native Daughters of the Golden West, for kids and adults. Kids will enjoy making candles from beeswax, getting bees painted on their faces by Allied Arts members, coloring pictures of bees and watching bees work in an observation beehive.
Enjoy a honey-drenched snack of baklava, washed down with honey-sweetened iced tea or mead, honey wine.
At 3:30 p.m., pets and their owners will assemble for the Buzzy Pets Parade. Local celebrity cat Sunshine will model his new bee costume. All pets are welcome to participate, with prizes awarded for Funniest,
Most Creative and Best in Show, thanks to Maddie Mae’s Pet Pantry, 614 Main St. in Cambria. Call Christie or Karen at 805-924-1139 for more information.
Beautify Cambria works to beautify our town, most noticeably by replacing the ugly old trash cans downtown with beautiful new Trash/Recycling/Planter Receptacles (TRPRs). The flowering plants in the planters are one more support for those hungry bees. Need more information on the Bee Faire? Call Claudia Harmon Worthen at 805-927-1934.