- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
When the annual California Agriculture Day took place yesterday on the state capitol grounds, thousands of visitors buzzed the booths learning more about the food they eat and the agriculturists that provide it.
But that wasn't the only buzz.
The California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) booth included a bee observation hive, a glassed-in hive where visitors could watch colony activity.
Brian Fishback of Wilton, president of the Sacramento Area Beekeepers’ Association, pointed out the queen, worker bees (sterile females) and the drones (males) to the visitors, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Secretary of Agriculture A. G. Kawamura.
"Look," Fishback told a group of young children. "There's a boy bee. See him? And look, there's a bee ready to enter the world."
"One-third of the food you eat is pollinated by bees," he said.
The beekeepers' booth was staffed with bee experts, including UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty members Lynn Kimsey and Eric Mussen. Kimsey, a former beekeeper, directs the Bohart Museum of Entomology and is a professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology. Mussen, an Extension apiculturist or bee specialist, is active in national and state honey bee organizations. He currently serves as the CSBA parliamentarian.
Roger Everett of Porterville, president of CSBA, was there, along with CSBA secretary-treasurer Carlen Jupe. So was Jackie Park-Burris of Palo Cedro, chair of the California State Apiary Board and past president of the California State Beekeepers’ Association. Mike and Donna Tolmachoff of Madera represented the Central Valley Beekeepers’ Association; in fact, Mike serves as the president this year.
They handed out free honey bee sticks, "I Love Honey" stickers, recipe booklets, and bee fact sheets, and answered questions about bees. Crystal Hubbard of Häagen-Dazs distributed free ice cream. Some 40 percent of the ice cream brand’s flavors depend on honey bee pollination. Häagen-Dazs strongly supports honey bees. Their financial support includes bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
So, how busy was the beekeepers' booth? They handed out 2600 honey bee sticks and 1500 individual servings of Häagen-Dazs.
Meanwhile, the bees in the observation hive just kept working, too.