Kutztown bee keepers in Lehigh Valley celebrate Honey Bees

Kutztown area beekeepers - Ron Bogansky (left) leading children in hive roles game allowing beekeeper Steve Finke (in white hat/veil) to collect honey from the hive, the result of the honey bee children making numerous trips to area flower children for nectar which other worker bee children turned into honey for their food source to survive winter.
PA Honey Queen Kaylee Kilgore

Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association invites Berks County residents to join them for a day of fun and education in the Lehigh Valley to celebrate National Honey Bee Day.

“Our honey bees travel from the Lehigh Valley into Berks County,” said Ann A. Wertman, Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association Secretary. “Several of our beekeepers live in the Kutztown area.”

On Saturday, Aug. 16, a “Day for Honey Bees” will be observed at the Wildlands Conservancy, 3701 Orchid Place, Emmaus, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of National Honey Bee Day. The free event for all ages, held rain or shine, is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association.

Youngsters of all ages can experience role playing inside and outside the beehive in the fun and educational game “Imagine Me…A Busy, Busy Honey Bee.” Children will receive honey sticks and coloring books.

Highlighting the local celebration will be the 2014 Pennsylvania Honey Queen, Kaylee Kilgore, a beekeeper who is currently a student at Lehigh University where she recently assisted in establishing an apiary on campus along with assistance from area beekeepers.

Visitors will see a working observation hive with the Queen Bee going about her business laying eggs. In other stations local beekeepers will explain their equipment, take you on a tour to an apiary and hourly from noon to 3 p.m. will demonstrate the extraction of raw honey from the hive. Raw honey from the extractor and other honey by-products will be available for sale.

Honey bees have sustained farming and gardening for at least 4,500 years, their by-products have helped to save the lives of our soldiers; with health issues from a sore throat to the trauma of burn victims; and in salves used for people and animal health.

While honey bees are very, very charitable by providing pollination which it is estimated directly or indirectly affects 50-80 percent of the world’s food supply, their short life of 6-8 weeks is not without the everyday turmoil of predators, diseases and the lifestyle of human beings. Honey bees are a perfect gauge of the health of our environment. Sensitivity to pesticides is deadly to honey bees at a minute level of only several parts per billions in contamination. It may be wise to consider that chemicals used to have the best garden and most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood may likewise be detrimental to our family pets or the children enjoying a barefooted romp.

With the bee industry so vital to all agriculture and gardening from the small family organic plot to the largest commercial growers that feed much of the world, reality is that 98 percent of all who keep honey bees are backyard beekeepers living in our towns, cities and suburban areas and not on larger traditional farms.

The Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association was founded in 1921 and has a membership of over 175 beekeepers and gardeners. The Association holds classes for beginning beekeepers each winter at LCCC. Monthly meetings are open to the public; learn more by visiting www.Lehighvalleybeekeepers.org.