Keepers of the bees encouraging kids to learn more

img_20170615_174524559_hdrHoneybees are a small but important part of our world.

They affect the production of things like fruit and almonds, and more.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is, bees also affect your beef cattle,” Deb Harris says. “A lot of the food the beef eats has to be pollinated by bees.”

Deb and her husband, Henry, raise honeybees. They currently have five hives, but at one point over the years, the had close to 40.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, they’ll talk about honeybees at the Dunlap branch. Then, at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 29, Henry will give a similar program at the Osolo branch.

The family-oriented programs are open all ages. They’ll show a few frames of live bees, with a few baby bees and, of course, the queen bee.

Deb and Henry describe the life cycle of a bee, as well as talk about the various things bees pollinate and how, if there weren’t bees, a lot of food we enjoy wouldn’t be available. They will even bring a veil and gloves that a lucky child will get to try on.

“A lot of people have been interested in bees because they’ve had a lot of media attention,” Deb says. “It’s just important for people to support beekeeping and beekeeping laws.”

Support for beekeeping laws has encouraged cities to change their laws to allow people to keep beehives within city limits.

Deb’s hope for the program is simple. She wants people to see the positive side of bees.

“My hope is to take the fear of honeybees away from the children,” Deb says. “To have them see the bees as the amazing creatures that they are. Bees are not mean evil things out to sting them. They actually do have a place in making our lives a little better, more comfortable. Bees are a good thing.”

While keeping bees over the winter poses a bit of a challenge, Deb finds that keeping bees keeps her on her toes. She’s never quite sure what will happen. It’s much like cultivating agricultural products (which coincidentally rely on pollination to survive).

Despite the challenges of raising bees, the amount of gained knowledge has been Deb’s favorite part of raising the bees.

“The more you delve into honey bees, the more miraculous they become,” Deb says. “Almost any part of nature looks like normal, but then the more you learn, it’s just a fascinating part of nature.”

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