The uniquely bizarre and incredible creature known as the honey bee was celebrated June 20th for the 61st Annual Beekeepers’ Field Day at the Beaverlodge Agricultural Research Station. This year’s event, hosted by Dr. Steve Pernal, launched with a morning of visiting booths and demonstrations set up for the riveted public, whose members ranged from experienced beekeepers to novice inquisitors (such as myself). We were briefed on topics regarding honey bee diseases, Queen Bee behavior, and honey bee reproductive nature; Queen Bee ‘behavior’ included vicious sororicide rages.
Morning sunshine transitioned to light mid-morning showers, sending guests to take cover, mingle and enjoy a barbeque lunch. The afternoon welcomed the following guest speakers: Chris Warkentin, MP for Peace River; Dr. Jeff Pettis of the USDA Beltsville Honey Bee Research Lab; Dr. Eva Forsgren of Swedish Agricultural University; Dr. Tom Thompson, Dr. Shelly Hoover, and Dr. Medhat Nasr with Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development; Grant Hicks, President of the Alberta Beekeepers; and from our NBDC-TAC team: Carlos Castillo and Patricia Wolf Veiga.
Bee Day is a gathering of people who are interested and passionate about beekeeping and protecting these wonderful critters from disappearing. Being a part of this community for the day hit home the truth of what bees are to the world, and how the disappearance of these flower flitting creatures would be a devastating loss.
As I watched rogue bees dance between and around the crowd, I was struck by two thoughts: First of all, how were these people going about their business seemingly unaware of the bees drifting around them, while I stood stiffly and prayed that sunscreen wasn’t a bee attractant. Secondly, I was humbled by the relationship that seemed to be forged between people and bees; beekeeping is not a simple job involving simple insects, but is a lifestyle that requires care and vigilance.
The 61st annual beekeepers’ field day has come to a close and was a buzzing success. Next year, I hope that many more have the opportunity to celebrate and embrace (we can hope not literally) the complex and compelling nature of the honey bee.