Bees are coming to Dublin Library.    This Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. Uncle Jer’s Traveling Bee Show arrives for a Family Night program when the library is closed.  Jerry Johnson is a beekeeper from Elk Grove.  He has between 3 and 25 colonies of bees. He and his wife Ellen will be here along with two observation hives, a variety of honey samples and lots of large mounted photos with information about bees.  How and why do bees pollinate plants?  Why do bees swarm?  How many eyes do bees have?   Find out about pollination, honey making and harvesting, bee reproduction, the medicinal qualities of honey and other fun bee facts.  Better yet, get a chance to watch them working on a multitude of jobs.

Bees have a bad reputation because of their stingers, I know.  All of my life I have not been fond of bees–I’ve been stung and my dog has been stung.  Once outside the old Dublin Library, people came scooting in the front door alarmed at a huge swarm hanging effortlessly in a nearby tree.   Fly fishing along the Truckee River with my father years ago,  hundreds of bees coasted along the rocky riverbank and I tried not to let them bother me, but eventually I ended up back in the car, furiously rolling up the windows because there were just So Many of Them and I couldn’t shake the fear that I would be stung.  It just takes one….

But I AM fond of food like berries, cherries, melons, almonds, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and squash.  Onions.  Pumpkins.  Broccoli.  Carrots. Peanuts.  Avocado. It turns out that all of these foods depend on bees. Bees get food from the flowers of these plants and when they do, they pollinate them, which means those plants keep on reproducing.  Without bees, there are no plants.  No plants, no food.

A few years ago beekeepers sounded an alarm:  honey bees were disappearing.  Hives were suddenly being deserted.  The estimates are now nearly one third of all honey bee colonies in this country have vanished.   That’s scary. It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder and scientists, beekeepers and agricultural experts are scrambling to understand why.  Since reading about this, I am trying to make friends with bees.  When I see them on my rosemary plant, I say welcome.  Glad to see you.   More , I’m anxious to understand how we humans can help them out, since they play such a key role in all the best food I like to eat.  So Saturday night is an opportunity to make friends with the bees, understand them a little and maybe go home with a little kernal of knowledge that can keep them from disappearing altogether…..

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