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Burlington County Times: Program has the latest buzz about honey bees

They’re living the sweet life. But don’t take that to mean that everything is coming up roses.

When it comes to beneficial insects, honey bees are queen of the hive. How could we ever live without these hard workers? Well, we really couldn’t. Honey bees are the primary pollinators of flower, fruits and vegetables. It would be pretty difficult to live without those crops.

So what’s all the recent buzz about the declining honey bee population? The facts sting: For more than a decade, honey bee colonies in the United States have been dying out. In fact, for the 12-month period beginning April 2006, beekeepers reported a 33 percent loss in colony population.

A loss of honey bees is a huge loss to mankind. It is estimated that one-third of our food supply is pollinated by honey bees. If you’re a fan of almonds, it might be time to worry just a bit — almond crops are pollinated entirely by honey bees.

Due to New Jersey’s population density and increases in land development, the vast majority of honey bee colonies are managed by beekeepers. Stephen and Nancy Alexeichik, who own the Mill Creek Apiary in Medford Lakes, work hard to keep their hives happy, healthy and productive. Due to their efforts, Burlington County residents can enjoy local raw honey and beeswax products.

On Tuesday, the Alexeichiks will visit the Medford Leas to share their knowledge of honey beekeeping, and “Why Honeybees are So Important to Everyone.” Learn the basics of beekeeping, what goes on inside the hive and how the bees work together.

In addition, discover the many uses of honey, pollen and nectar, and why they’re so important to mankind. The program will also detail the causes of population decline, and how you can do your part to keep honey bees buzzing about.

The program is part of the Pathways to Learning series, which brings local speakers and presenters to Medford Leas for continuing education. The presentations are open to the public as well as members for the retirement community.

The presentation will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Medford Campus Theater, at 1 Medford Leas Way. There is no fee to attend, though registration is required by Friday. To register, visit medfordleas.org/event, call 609-654-3588, or email pathways@medfordleas.net. For more information on Mill Creek Apiary, visit millcreekapiary.com.

Published by Melissa Hanejko, correspondent, on September 13, 2017

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