In an interview on KSST’s Good Morning Show, listeners met Mary Smith, President of the 50-member Wood County Beekeepers Association, a chapter of the Texas Beekeepers Association. The club just wrapped a 3-weekend awareness series at the Winnsboro Farmer’s Market. Visitors were shown live bee demonstrations through a glass-sided hive, and honey extraction demonstrations showing how a bee farmer harvests honey by getting it out of the hive. There was also a “painted beehive” art contest and silent auction, where ten decorated hives were sold as a fundraiser for the club. Honey and beeswax products were offered for sale as well. The 3-weekend event served as a membership and education drive, a part of the Save the Bees mission of the Winnsboro group.
Bee farmers locally are experiencing distressing symptoms in their bees, similar to challenges being faced worldwide by beekeepers. For one, the queens are not living very long. With a working lifespan of about 6 years, many queens are now dying off much earlier. Also, bees which gather pollen and carry water and honey to the hives are weakened by the Varroa mite, a parasite which does not kill but weighs down and weakens the bees. Another widespread problem is the bee’s constant exposure to insecticides and poisons in the environment. Also, decreasing forage in the form of blooming plants, shrubs and trees affects the amount of pollen that bees can gather within the two-mile radius of their travels from the hive.
If you would like more information on how you can help save the bees, contact woodcountybeekeepers.org , phone 903-342-2428 or get facts from the state website of the Texas Beekeepers Association.