• The Zen of bees

    Beekeeping is on the rise as people seek health for themselves and bees
  • The fruits of honeybees' labors add to a wholesome human diet and augment our natural pharmacopeia.
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    • If you go
      What: Beginning beekeeping lecture by Sarah Red-Laird, who will discuss equipment and accommodations for keeping bees, investments in money and time and benefits of beekeeping, including honey, wax...
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      If you go
      What: Beginning beekeeping lecture by Sarah Red-Laird, who will discuss equipment and accommodations for keeping bees, investments in money and time and benefits of beekeeping, including honey, wax and propolis; cost is $15 per lecture, payable at the door.

      When and Where: 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, Pioneer Hall, 73 Winburn Way, Ashland (across from Lithia Park); 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, RoxyAnn Winery, 3285 Hillcrest Road, Medford; 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, Bear Hotel Artworks Museum, 2101 N.E. Spaulding Ave., Grants Pass.

      For information and to register: Email sarah@beegirl.org.

      Help honeybees stay healthy

      Use pesticides wisely. Choose products that are less likely to harm bees and follow the directions carefully. Don't apply pesticides to flowers that bees will visit or water they'll drink.

      Add pollinator-friendly plants to your yard. Check out the "Pollinator Friendly Planting Guide" for your region at www.pollinator.org.

      Be a little wild. Don't be afraid to leave part of your yard a bit unkempt or let a few dandelions grow. Honeybees feed on weed flowers, too.

      Buy local honey. It helps keep beekeepers in business. If you can't find a source of local honey, at least buy honey produced in the United States.

      Befriend bees. Stay calm when you see them; swatting just antagonizes them, and moving around a lot disseminates your odor and makes you more obvious. For the most part, if you don't bother them, they'll leave you alone.

      — Source: McClatchy News Service
  • The fruits of honeybees' labors add to a wholesome human diet and augment our natural pharmacopeia.
    But the insects' own failing health is behind the recent proliferation of backyard hives, with beginning beekeepers determined to preserve the species and its critical role.
    The tide of honeybee deaths has been steadily rising since the 1950s, experts say. A swarm of factors — parasites, viruses, chemical toxins, nutritional and genetic deficiencies, modern farming methods and even weather — seems to cause colony collapse disorder, which kills entire hives swiftly and unexpectedly.
    Ailing bees can't pollinate plants that yield food for people and animals. Nor can they produce the sticky and sweet substances that support human health.
    "There are so many medicinal properties that come from honey," says beekeeper Sarah Red-Laird, who taught "Healing With the Honeybee Hive" last fall at Ashland's North Mountain Nature Center.
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