The third Saturday in August was National Honey Bee Day, but if you missed it, you still have local opportunities to learn about a very useful insect. Even more important than the delicious honey provided by bees is their role as key pollinators, since three quarters of the world’s flowering plants, including our local avocado crop, depend on pollinators to reproduce.
A United States Department of Agriculture website, www.farmers.gov/pollinators, cites an estimate stating “one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds and bats, and beetles and other insects.”
The Agriculture Museum of Ventura County recently celebrated the 13th anniversary of Honey Bee Day with a “Save the Pollinators” exhibit, some of which is still on view. On Aug. 20, the museum hosted many clever and informative activities. Among other activities, volunteers helped kids craft bees out of pipe cleaners and make candles from wicks rolled into small sheets of bee’s wax.
Eduardo Flores, owner of Ventura Bee Rescue, hosted a display and explained how he captures bee swarms and relocates hives. In addition to finding new customers for those services, he hoped to find more local farmers interested in hosting colonies he establishes and maintains.
Bob Cromwell, the museum’s manager of education, offered honey sticks as rewards for children who eagerly raised hands in answer to his informative kid-oriented presentation, danced the bee “waggle” to imitate bee’s communication through motion, and sang along during his song session. Bee-themed songs included an altered Beatles song, “Let It Bee.” When not educating and entertaining, Cromwell served as DJ for the event, queueing up on his sound system bee-themed tunes ranging from Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s classical “Flight of the Bumblebee” to The Rolling Stones rock classic “I’m a King Bee.”