All the Buzz
keepers to gain knowledge
at workshop at Clifty Falls State Park
apiary specialist Prough
to speak; public welcome
(August 2012) Bees pollinate more than 100
agricultural crops plus 16 percent of all flowering plant species, making
them essential, not only to farmers and gardeners, but to all who enjoy
eating and the beauty of flowers. Naturalists know many cringe in fear
on sighting a bee. They hope education on the benefits of bees will
change the Eeek! to a Wow!
keeping has become a
popular hobby in southern Indiana.
Many resources are available
to help get started.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, from 1-3 p.m., Clifty Falls State
Park in Madison, Ind., will team with state apiarist Kathleen Prough,
Geez Beez Apiary, the Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association, the
Indiana Beekeepers Association, and the Indiana Department of Natural
Resources to put on a workshop focusing on the work of bees, the details
of bee keeping and bee gardening, and the benefits of bees to everyone.
The workshop takes place at the Nature Center and is free with paid
admission to the park.
A Michigan native, Prough is a graduate of Western Michigan University,
where she earned a bachelors degree in biology and a certificate
in secondary education. She worked seasonally as an apiary inspector
for the Michigan Department of Agriculture from 1988 to 1992. She has
served as Chief Apiary Inspector for the state of Indiana since 1994.
She is available to inspect hives to diagnose possible diseases or parasite
infestations. She also works with other states to conduct nationwide
research on the health of honeybee colonies and the presence or absence
of particular problems in hives. Prough also travels the state to speak
on bee keeping and honeybee-safe gardening practices.
Ginger Davis, local bee keeper and point person for the workshop, hopes
to draw locals to learn more about bees through a variety of hands-on
stations. One station explores the various aspects of bee life and bee
keeping. Participants learn about the differing roles of the queen,
drone and worker bees and how these roles are determined. Participants
will see bees at work in a carefully screened observation hive.
Kathleen Prough will
speak at the August workshop in Madison.
Davis notes that even those who have no interest in bee
keeping find bees fascinating on learning more about them.
Though my husband isnt really into bees, Im always
sharing something new Ive learned and he just says, They
can do THAT? Its very fun to open the world of bees to others.
At another station, Prough will detail the aspects of healthy hives
for those interested in bee keeping. Prough tours Indiana inspecting
hive health and helping bee keepers put into practice processes to ensure
a thriving bee population. She will also educate participants about
plants that support bee populations. Even those not interested in bee
keeping can contribute to a vibrant bee population by including appropriate
plants in their gardens. Prough will instruct participants on which
plants to grow, how to grow them, and then provide seeds so that participants
can get started right after the workshop.
Wild bees build hives in hollow trees. Clifty Falls State Park Naturalist
Dick Davis will lead a hike for those interested in seeing a natural
bee hive in one of the parks trees. He will detail the differing
aspects between bees living in a domestic hive and those living in the
wild. Participants will be able to observe the hive inside the tree
and the intricacy of the honeycomb.
For those interested in bee keeping or just further understanding the
process, another station will educate participants in the equipment
involved in bee keeping from the protective clothing keepers
wear to the tools they use to keep bees and collect the honey.
Children will especially enjoy the chance to try to lift a honeycomb,
watch bees at work and handle the equipment used by bee keepers. For
those uncomfortable with getting close to the bees, a video of bees
at work will offer details of all bees do. Participants will experience
the benefits of bees first-hand when served a dish of honey ice cream
the honey produced by local bee keepers and the ice cream
manufactured in Indiana.
Davis hopes families and individuals alike will attend to learn more
about the role of bees and how they can be involved in preserving this
vital resource. Attendees can visit any or all the stations at their
Those interested in going a step further to actual bee keeping can make
contacts with local experts, ask questions and gain hands-on experience
with the process and equipment needed. Those contacts continue long
after the workshop is over. The Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association
meets the third Thursday of every month and welcomes anyone interested
in bee keeping. The group offers a mentoring program to pair new bee
keepers with more experienced to ensure those entering bee keeping have
the support and guidance they need to be successful. For more information,
visit www.indianahoney.org. Davis currently mentors two budding bee
keepers one who is only 13 years old.
Its great fun to help them get started. I love passing along
all Ive learned.
While no one relishes the thought of a bee sting, Davis hopes greater
understanding of all bees contribute will cause people to relish the
buzzing of bees nearby. With a deeper appreciation of the intricacy
and necessity of bees work, the Eeek changes to Wow.
For more information, call Clifty Falls
State Park at (812) 265-4135.
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