Cambrian: Opinion

Be there for Bee Faire and learn what buzz is about

Katie Metzger doing what she loves to do: playing with bees on Oahu, Hawaii.
Katie Metzger doing what she loves to do: playing with bees on Oahu, Hawaii.

I was absolutely tickled pink when I was asked to emcee the upcoming Bee Faire on Sunday, May 1, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Cambria Historical Society. What a lovely idea. Bees need all the help we can give them: Our lives depend on them! Really!

Back in the 1970s, I started getting into the benefits of cooking and using honey for everything from baking bread to healing cuts. I had an uncle back in Wisconsin who raised bees and the month or so I was back there one summer, I came to understand the hive mentality and the work that went into producing honey and wax, both on the bees’ and my uncle’s part!

This past January, when I went to visit my younger son in his new home in Honolulu, we hooked up with an old friend of mine who used to live in Cambria and now resides on North Shore with her young family, up the road from Zachary. She works for an island company called Honey Girl Organics, helping to manage all their beehives. She has several of her own in her expansive backyard and also helps people on the island set up their own colonies, including musician Jack Johnson.

“I’m really excited that so many people are starting to raise bees on their own, accepting them, nurturing the population that has been so hard hit with colony collapse disorder, all the pesticides and horrible things that are being bred into plants that in turn kill the bees!” she told me on her back porch, looking over the white boxes.

“I never thought I’d find my bliss in my own backyard, but I did. My thing happens to be bees. I feel incredibly blessed to have been mentored by some of the best beekeepers on the planet, and I am always happy to share what I know. That said, I learn so much from observing the hive. I love that bees are wild. They cannot be domesticated. We don’t teach them — they teach us.

“What can be learned from observing a beehive? Where do I begin? Physics? How is it that a bee can carry it’s own weight and still fly? How about chemistry? Did you know it takes 1 pound of honey to make just 1 ounce of wax? I find something incredibly powerful about the fact that it takes a bee their entire life to make  1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. The few seconds it takes for me to indulge in their life’s work can transport me to heaven on earth!”

I can’t wait to meet America’s Honey Queen, Kim Kester, at the Bee Faire. She’ll be a wealth of information for us all. And there is much reason to know it, that we may be more concerned about the well being of this busy little servant.

“Not only is the humble bee an incredible pollinator, responsible for helping the growth of some of our favorite treats including coffee and chocolate, but it’s the only insect in the world to produce food that humans can eat,” relates.

Without bees pollinating crops, food costs would skyrocket, as we’d have to do that job by hand. Can you imagine? Bees also pollinate flowers and plants that bear fruit in the wild, without which plants would not survive to provide food for various animals all down the chain.

So, I hope you’ll join us for the Bee Faire this Sunday. Learn about the amazing bee, the incredible health benefits of honey (humectant for skin, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, amino acids, antioxidants …), wax (nutrient rich, protects the skin, kills germs) and other products they live to share with the world. Right on, little bees!

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at ltd@ lady tie di .com, or visit her website at www .lady tie di .com.