Bees are keeping fewer secrets due to exhibit at Lakeshore Museum

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PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

by Cynthia Price

 

Spoiler Alert: Bees are essential to humans’ way of life.

One important “secret” about bees (though an increasing number of people know this) is that honey bees are critical for pollinating about 70% of the crops that feed 90% of the world. They pollinate not only fruits and vegetables (and flowers), but also the field crops that animals we eat use for nutrition, such as clover. They also give us honey and wax.


In the mid-2000s, something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) put a scare into a lot of people who understood bees’ critical role.


Beekeepers started raising alarms because they would find almost empty hives, with all the worker bees gone and the queen bee remaining. Nor did they find the bees’ bodies near those hives, but as was gradually revealed, they would find large piles of them in the woods nearby. People reacted strongly and worked  to save the bees in a variety of ways, including research into what caused CCD.


But as researchers looked into it, they found that CCD may not be as threatening as it first seemed, though it is certainly alarming enough to be worthy of trying to avoid.


The new exhibit at the Lakeshore Museum Center, Secrets of Bees, tells some of these pollinators’ secrets in a way that children and adults alike will find charming.


The exhibit, which will be here until Sept. 15, offers a number of hands-on opportunities to learn more about bees and have fun. These include being able to dress up as either a bee or a beekeeper, and finding out the right way to plant a garden that would attract them and offer habitat.


Indeed, loss of habitat is one of several causes of CCD that researchers have identified. Others include the varroa mite (an invasive pest), viruses and parasites, pesticide poisoning, stress from management practices – such as transporting bees around the country – which are now changing, inadequate nutrition, and immune suppression caused by a combination of the other
factors.

The Lakeshore Museum Center will have a variety of programs that teach people, particularly children, more about bees; on August 2, there will be a demonstration with live bees, including honey tasting and beeswax candle rolling.


Coming up April 14 from 1-3 p.m. is a Secrets of Bees Craft Activity session, repeated June 9 and August 11; the May 12 Secrets of Bees Science Activity will be repeated July 14 and September 8.There are a number of events aimed at ages 4 and under.


On Saturday March 31, the Museum also featured a cute Easter craft. Kids could do simple origami folding to create a bookmark that tucked over the corner of a page.


To find out more and download a schedule of bee activities, visit www.lakeshoremuseum.org/the-secrets-of-bees-exhibit/

 

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