Beekeeping as a hobby has been growing in popularity in Utah for good reason. Bees don't just give us honey, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bees pollinate 80% of our flowering crops which make up 1/3 of everything we eat. Losing bees could affect "not only dietary staples such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers, but may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed. One Cornell University study estimated that honeybees annually pollinate $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the U.S. Essentially, if honeybees disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing mankind to little more than a water diet." Here in the "Beehive State" much of our economy still comes from agriculture, so we should value that busy little insect, "Deseret" who stands as a symbol in Utah.
National Honey Bee Day is Saturday, August the 16th this year, and they really are worth celebrating. Whether you are looking into apiculture to help feed the world at large, to learn more about the fascinating little creatures and their monarchy, to be more self-sufficient by making your own delicious raw honey, or you simply want a little pet that pulls its weight, beekeeping might be for you. But if you'd like to learn more about caring for these industrious insects with your family, you might try visiting Thanksgiving Point's Farm Country and their newest residents; a bustling beehive that is part of their Junior Master Gardener Program!
The following slideshow shows the introduction of this new addition to the non-profit institute that includes a working farm, beautiful gardens, a dinosaur museum, and their brand new Museum of Natural Curiosity. Spencer Mayberry, who keeps the bees as well as teaching the students in JMG about them, gives demonstrations and is always willing to answer questions. For the littlest bee admirers (and their parents), Spencer will even be a special guest at Thanksgiving Point's story time program, Tales for Tots, being held in the Garden visitor's center the Wednesday following National Honey Bee Day, Wednesday, August 20th at 11 am. Besides meeting a real bee keeper, children will make a bee craft and hear the charming bee story about believing in yourself, Buzz by Eileen Spinelli.