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Letter from the Editor: At Work with the Bees

by on May 31, 2018 2:03 PM

Getting up close and personal with bees is not something I’d envisioned doing on purpose. Ever.

As a kid, if there were six of us out playing in the yard, the resident wasps always seemed to buzz past my friends and zap me. It happened often enough that it became something of a family joke as my mother applied the baking soda paste to my sting.

As an adult while mowing the lawn, danger in the form of ornery yellow jackets seemed to lurk under every tuft of grass. Once, a few years ago, I was stung three times over the course of about a week, and my swollen hand was starting to resemble a baseball mitt.

I know wasps are not bees. Wasps are more aggressive; they are predators, not pollinators.

Still, the idea of hanging around with a few thousand insects that have the ability to sting me wasn’t high on my bucket list.

That is, until I started researching a story on local beekeepers and their honeybees. Most of us have heard about environmental and other threats facing honeybees. Learning more about the societal structure within a hive, and how beekeepers help to manage it, has been fascinating.

I had the chance to don a beekeeping suit and get up close during visits to the hives of three members of the Centre County Beekeepers’ Association. Watching the bees at work, inches away, was an unforgettable experience. I even had the chance to hold a honeycomb crawling with bees. They were so busy on that warm, sunny day that they barely noticed. They had better things to do than bother with me!

Read more about what local beekeepers are doing to work with honeybees here.

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Belated credit

We extend a belated thank you and an apology to Deb Rittelmann, who took the photo of the Penns Valley Pedals and Pints bicycle ride that appeared in our May issue. We inadvertently left the credit line off the photo.


Mark Brackenbury

Editorial Director

[email protected]


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