There was quite the buzz around the apiary display assembled by the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association at the 2013 Farm Show Tuesday.
-There was quite the buzz around the apiary display assembled by the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association at the 2013 Farm Show Tuesday.
Spectators young and old swarmed around the dual hive display to witness the busy bugs in action.
Charlie Vorisek , president of the PSBA, said the primary goal of their "presence at the Farm Show is to educate (people) about the honey bee."
The current exhibit has been an ongoing process for the "last six to eight years." This is their third year at their new location in the main hall. The new spot has brought with it an influx of spectators. He says the display "is non-stop all day."
In the 1980s, there were over 80,000 colonies of honey bees throughout the state. Now, that number has been reduced to just 40,000 colonies.
Vorisek said the organization, which has a local Wayne County chapter, acts as "a bridge between the agriculture side and the legislative side" of beekeeping.
This is important because Vorisek says there are some townships which have, or are trying to pass legislation to prohibit beekeeping by drafting new zoning ordinances.
While education is a top priority for the PSBA, they also offer honey from hives across the state. This year, there are around 80 different beekeepers represented. They also offer a chance to taste the honey on items like honey drizzled over a fresh waffle.
The taste of honey may be a happy by-product of the honeybee, but their main contribution spans far more than just sweetening a cup of hot tea.
The USDA estimates "about one-third of the food we eat" comes from insect-pollinated plants Vorisek said.
Out of the insect pollinators, 80 percent of the pollination is from the honeybee.
Without insect pollination, many of the foods we eat would not produce fruit or vegetables.
Vorisek says the decline in the honeybee population can be traced to multiple factors. Some residents exterminate the honeybees in the belief they are a predatory stinging insect. He says that is not true, as they are "gentle" and "not threatening." The use of various pesticides is also impacting their population.
There are things any novice gardener can do to help keep the bee population healthy. You can learn how to plant a pollinator friendly garden filled with flowers that provide blooms throughout the year, not just the spring.
"Honeybees don't hibernate in the winter," Vorisek said. "They need to keep the temperature," of the hive "at 93 degrees," to incubate the brood. If the temperature is not maintained, the brood will not survive.
The use of pesticides is also detrimental to the bee population.
If you want to learn more about honeybees, or maybe get involved with bees, visit www.pastatebeekepers.org.