Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Bee friendly Bee smart


February 22, 2018

For the Pine Bluffs Post

A bee keeper working with his hives.

The Bee-Event of the year, the Wyoming Bee College, is coming to the Laramie County Community College March 17-18. No, it isn't a school for bees. It's for anybody and everybody who wants to learn more about beekeeping and bees in general. This two-day event features sessions on a wide variety of topics from beginning and advanced beekeeping to bee diseases and how to garden to attract bees and other pollinators. There are even sessions on processing honey and wax.

Bees are too often thought of as just another stinging insect that needs to be squashed. NOT SO! Bees are a very important part of the ecology and vital to our own existence. Without bees, and other pollinators, most of our vegetables and fruits couldn't be pollinated. In other words, no pollination, no food. Can you imagine a world without an apple? Or honey? While we're on the subject, what about all our alfalfa fields. That's our bees hard at work pollinating those blossoms to produce seed for the next generation of plants. And I would miss a world without flowers. That would be a really dull view. No, I can't imagine a world without bees. Nor do I want too.

In the last several years we've been hearing reports that the bee population is declining worldwide. No single, specific cause was pinpointed, but multiple factors were discussed such as: colony collapse disorder (primarily in relation to honey bees), pesticides and a lack of food and habitat. Our native bees don't live in hives, but often in the ground or other places where they won't be disturbed. When habitat decreases, so does the population. For a while there was fear that we could lose the bees altogether. Thankfully, recent reports are showing that the bee population is starting to come back. We can help support the population increase by learning how to conserve habitat and how to garden in such a way that we provide food for both our native bees and honeybees.

Before I took the Master Gardener program through the Laramie County Extension Service, I knew nothing about bees and paid very little attention to them in the garden, except when I was trying to keep from getting stung. In fact, I thought they were a bit of a nuisance. Now I find them fun to watch buzzing from flower to flower and now I work right beside them without a fear of being stung. Last year, I had seven different kinds of bees in my garden. It was amazing watching them select the flower they were going to collect pollen from. I learned that they could be pretty particular with the flowers they visited. I'll be planting more flowers that will attract the bees in the future.

The Bee College is one of the best starting points we have here in Laramie County to learn how to help preserve our bees. I invite you to come out and join the Laramie County Master Gardeners and the Laramie County Extension Service on March 17-18 and you can even hear a special presentation from Dr. Raymond Cloyd as he talks about the history of the 1950's Big Bug Science Fiction Movies! For more information you can call the Laramie County Extension Service at 307-633-4480.


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