Beekeeping and Bugs at the Food Summit

Lois Connington, Joe MacGown and I were asked to “man” an entomology exhibit at the second annual Mississippi Food Summit and Agricultural Revival  in Jackson, MS this Saturday.Food-summit-poster-Final (522x800)

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Talking to a very inquisitive Brownie Troop

The event was held at the Ag & Forestry Museum, and filled three days with a variety of learning (hands-on and seminars) and vending opportunities for the public. The weather was perfect on Saturday–blue sky, bright sun, mid 70’s–and our exhibits were well-attended by youth and adults, alike. Lois brought examples from our live Insect Zoo, as well as baked goods made with insects (mmmm!); Joe set out several drawers of beautiful pinned insects from all over the world; and I brought my beekeeping bag of tricks, which included everything but live bees (the Central Mississippi Beekeepers Association hosted a live beehive demonstration elsewhere on the Museum grounds).

I was amazed how interested and knowledgeable several of the children were about bees…and even more amazed that the vast majority of the visitors to my booth were girls–Hooray! When I wasn’t talking to kiddos, I got to walk around and meet some of the farmers and vendors attending the event, and every one of them had something to say about honey bees. Two beekeepers from Louisiana were raising “survivor bees” from feral colonies.  One beekeeper integrates honey bees with his free-range chicken operation, claiming that the chickens control small hive beetles in his small apiary, and their presence does not upset the bees. There was an overall vibe of good health, community and genuine interest in the ideas and information presented at the Summit…and I found it indescribably refreshing to be in the midst of “bee friendly” farmers!