Slate of events planned celebrating honeybees, including Honeybee Hikes, beehive tours and talk by noted bee expert May Berenbaum
September is National Honey Month and The Morton Arboretum will be a beehive of activity during Honey Bee Weekend September 7 and 8. Join the Arboretum’s beekeeper and learn about honeybees during a beehive tour, peruse honey- and bee-themed products at the Honey Bee Expo, enjoy the ancient drink of mead during a Honey Mead Dinner, or attend a Lunch & Learn talk to hear one of the country’s top bee experts discuss the future of honeybees.
Honeybees are vital to our ecosystem and the foods we eat, according to Arboretum beekeeper Greg Fischer. “Many don’t realize that most honeybees are friendly,” he says. “And while we enjoy the honey they produce, they do so much more for us. In fact, every third bite we eat depends on pollination by honeybees.”
• Statistics show how crucial honeybees are to our economy and crop production. Western nations rely heavily on managed honeybees – the bees that ride in trucks from farm to farm – to keep commercial agriculture productive
• About a third of our foods – nearly 100 key crops – rely on honeybees, including apples, almonds, blueberries and raspberries
• In total, honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to US crop production
Honey Bee Weekend Events
Explore the Honey Bee Expo, where you can shop for locally produced honey, honey- and bee-themed products including honey beer and mead, honey breads and jams, candles, lotions and beekeeper kits. The Arboretum’s honey is very popular; the store has sold more than 20,000 jars in the past 10 years. Plus, check out an observation beehive and learn how to identify various pollinators. Throughout the Expo, the Arboretum will be offering drop-in lectures provided by the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association.
Over a honey-themed buffet lunch, nationally-known entomologist and author May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois will discuss the health of our honeybee populations during a Lunch & Learn talk, “Healthy Bees, Healthy Food,” on Saturday, September 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum. Learn about honeybees, their biology, and what they eat, hear the latest on Colony Collapse Disorder and more. The cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education <http://mortonarb.org/education> , in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468. Berenbaum will sign her books at 2 p.m. at the Honey Bee Weekend booths in Arbor Court.
Learn all about honeybees, their favorite flowers and how honey is made on a “Family Honeybee Hike” The hike will include viewing Arboretum beehives and sampling Arboretum honey. The hikes, 45 minutes long, are available Saturday, September 7, or Sunday, September 8 at 11:30 a.m. and 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m. The cost per person is $5 for members, $6 for nonmembers. The hikes are designed for families with children ages 2 and up. Register at mortonarb.org/education <http://mortonarb.org/education> , in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
Take a Bee Hive Tour on Friday, September 6, or Sunday, September 8, from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle with Greg Fischer, the Arboretum’s beekeeper. Protective bee netting will be provided. Enjoy a sample of honey for a sweet finish to the tour. The cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education <http://mortonarb.org/education> , in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
Enjoy honey-inspired food paired with mead, a honey wine, at the second annual Honey Mead Dinner on September 5 at 6 p.m. at the Arboretum. Arboretum beekeeper Greg Fischer will be present to explain the pairings and how mead is made. The cost is $50 for members and $55 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org <http://mortonarb.org> , in the Visitor Center or by calling 630-719-2468.
Wish the Children’s Garden a Happy Bee-Day at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Celebrate the garden’s 8th birthday by making bee masks, meeting a real beekeeper and checking out the hives in the Children’s Garden. The party will be happening September 7 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free with admission. The Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association will be present with their observation beehive.
Interested in starting your own hive and harvesting your own honey? Already have a hive and want to learn more about managing it? Come to The Morton Arboretum in Lisle for a “Beginning Beekeeping” class with Arboretum beekeeper Greg Fischer. Explore the history of beekeeping, bee anatomy, starting and managing a colony, equipment basics, honeybee pests and diseases, harvesting honey and more. Each participant will receive a hive tool to take home. This four- week class will be held on (what days), September 10 to October 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $80 for members, $94 for nonmembers. Register at mortonarb.org/education <http://mortonarb.org/education> , in the Visitor Center or call 630-719-2468.
NEW THIS YEAR: Win free passes to Honey Bee Weekend by entering The Morton Arboretum’s Honey Bee Photo Contest. Visit the Arboretum’s Facebook page from August 12 to 18 to submit your photos of honeybees. One lucky winner will receive a four-pack of tickets to the Arboretum. Enter on the Arboretum’s Facebook page.
Submit your own honey in our second annual Honey Competition on September 6. A certified judge will award best in class and best in show ribbons in a variety of categories.