Forget the birds. Events next weekend in Frankfort are strictly for the bees.
The Capital City Beekeepers Association has organized Bee Friendly Frankfort, a celebration with honeybee-themed events at downtown Frankfort businesses.
People interested in keeping bees also may register to attend the Bluegrass Beekeeping School at Kentucky State University; there will be an equipment sale and plant swap, too.
Emily Campbell, the American Beekeeping Federation's 2013 American Honey Princess, will appear at various events and discuss the importance of bees in agriculture and the diverse demographics of beekeeping during a bee school session.
If you've been thinking of keeping your own bee hives, this is a chance to discover how it's done and make some contacts among Kentucky's apiary folks.
The beekeeping industry touches the lives of every person in our country, according to the group. In fact, the organization states that honeybees are responsible for nearly one-third of our entire diet, in that the bees' pollination services provide for a large majority of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. This amounts to nearly $19 billion a year of direct value from honeybee pollination to U.S. agriculture.
On its website, ABFnet.org, there are links to issues of importance to many beekeepers, such as the USDA's current report on colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon since 2006 in which an alarming number of bee colonies have vanished without a scientifically proven cause. Recent research, statistics and events are noted.
Bee Friendly Frankfort events include a tasting of mead, or honey wine, at Capital Cellars; a beehive hairdo contest at Buddy's Pizza; honey pastries at Poppy's Bakery and Magee's Bakery; and honey-themed meals at many restaurants. There is also a watercolor exhibit, Rowdy Zinnias by Kathleen Kelly, at the Capital Gallery of Contemporary Art, and an exhibit of children's bee art at Wilson Nurseries.
Bee schools, held at various times and locations in Kentucky, are a great way to start learning the basics of beekeeping and finding experienced advice. For experienced beekeepers they offer expert speakers on topics of current interest. In 2012, more than 400 beekeepers from more than 50 Kentucky counties and several surrounding states attended the schools.
This year's keynote speaker is Jeff Harris of Mississippi State University, who will discuss the importance of honeybee pollination and varroa mites, a leading factor in bee mortality. Harris also will talk about breeding bees and integrated pest management issues.
IF YOU GO
Bee Friendly Frankfort
What: Series of events promoting beekeeping and honey in Frankfort, organized by the Capital City Beekeepers Association.
When and where: March 8, 9 throughout Frankfort
Learn more: For details and a map, check the many listings at KYAGR.com/statevet/documents/OSV_Bee_BeeFriendly2013.pdf. For details about other speakers and topics, go to KSBAbeekeeping.org.
Mead tasting. 5-7 p.m. March 8, 9. Capital Cellars, 227 W. Broadway.
Beekeepers Jam, music. 7-11 p.m. March 8,9. Buddy's Pizza, 212 W. Broadway.
Beehive Hairdo Contest. 8:30 p.m. March 8, 9. Buddy's Pizza.
Bee School Prequel (for the bee curious). 7:30-9 a.m. March 9. Kentucky State University Student Center, Room 310. Free.
Bluegrass Beekeeping School. 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. March 9. KSU Bradford Hall. $30. Registration at door or at KSBAbeekeeping.org. At the school, a sale of beekeeping equipment and a plant swap will be noon-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.
Kids' bee art projects. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 9. Completely Kentucky, 237 W. Broadway, and Wilson Nurseries, 3690 East-West Connector.
Honey and tea tasting. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 9. Irish Sea Celtic Shop, 333 W. Broadway.
Rowdy Zinnias: Watercolors by Kathleen Kelly. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 9. Capital Gallery of Contemporary Art, 314 Lewis St.
Kids' pottery projects. Noon-5 p.m. March 9. Broadway Clay, 223 W. Broadway.
These restaurants will serve honey- or bee-themed meals.
Bistro 241, 241 W. Main St.; Rick's White Light Diner, 114 Bridge St.; Serafini, 243 W. Broadway; Buddy's Pizza, 212 W. Broadway; Capital Cellars, 227 W. Broadway; Gibby's Deli, 212 W. Broadway.
Susan Smith-Durisek is a master gardener and writer from Lexington. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog: Gardening.bloginky.com.