What’s the buzz? Bees, of course

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A beekeeper teaches youngsters about bees during “The Buzz About Bees,” hosted by the Greenville Rotary. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

GREENVILLE — What’s the buzz? Why, it’s bees, of course.

The Greenville Rotary held a special program June 11 at the gazebo at Veterans’ Park and in the community room at the Greenville Public Library entitled “The Buzz About Bees.”

The family educational program, geared to adults and children alike, offered activities and vendors geared to nature and, of course, the business of bees.

“This is an environmental day,” said Rotary member Eileen Cuffe, who staffed a table at the gazebo. “It’s all about selling plants, telling people about bee keeping, people are selling honey, and there are all different kinds of plants that people can buy.”

Mushrooms, herbal teas, honey products and seed bombs were also available. Seed bombs are small, clay-covered mounds of seeds that “bomb” the soil to encourage plant growth.

A beekeeper was also on hand, showing kids of all ages the tools of her trade and explaining how bees are handled.

Local resident Heather Zacchio brought her three kids to “The Buzz About Bees” and said they couldn’t get enough of the beekeeper’s presentation.

“They are learning about beehives and how honey is made,” Zacchio said. “They like to eat honey a lot but they haven’t gotten to see hives up close, so this is really cool.”

Inside the community room at the library, there were more activities including children’s art projects.

There are likely many more species of bees that you might think.

There are over 20,000 known bee species in the world, with around 4,000 of them native to the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website.

Bee species range in size from tiny 2-millimeter Perdita minima, known as the world’s smallest bee, to carpenter bees, which are the size of a kumquat. Many kinds of bees are smaller than a grain of rice and about 10% of bee species in the U.S. have not yet been named.

Many bees are vital to maintaining an adequate food supply, and it goes far beyond honey production.

“Native bees are the primary insect pollinator of agricultural plants in most of the country,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. “Crops that they pollinate include squash, tomatoes, cherries, blueberries and cranberries.”

Honeybees are not native to North America but were brought here from Europe in the 17th century and now help pollinate many crops in the U.S., including fruits and nuts.

Native bees pollinate an estimated 80% of flowering plants around the world, according to the organization.

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