Bill Telford receives first-hand information from longtime beekeeper Alf Cassidy at the Harvest Fair Cariboo Beekeepers booth.

Bill Telford receives first-hand information from longtime beekeeper Alf Cassidy at the Harvest Fair Cariboo Beekeepers booth.

Pollinators praised at Harvest Fair

Free pollinator seed packets flew off the Central Cariboo Beekeepers Club display table during last weekend’s Harvest Fair.

Free pollinator seed packets flew off the Central Cariboo Beekeepers Club display table during last weekend’s Harvest Fair.

When Harvest Fair president Tammy Tugnum approached the club last spring with the news “Bee-lieve It or Not” was the theme for 2014, and offered a budget of $500, the club went all out.

They set up an observation bee hive, and a pollination DVD, The Hidden Beauty of Pollination, a list of ways people can help bees thrive and the seed packets, club member Diane Dunaway said.

“We themed it toward pollination and had bee friendly flowers as examples on the tables and we ordered these seed packets from West Coast Seeds who specialize in organic seeds that were good for zone three through nine.”

During the weekend club members encouraged fair goers to bring pollinators such as butterflies, honey bees and native bees to their backyards and create public awareness. Many people accepted the challenge as all 500 seed packets found a home.

“Wow, if even half of those people plant the seeds it will be awesome,” Dunaway said. “We’re just really delighted.”

On Sunday Dunaway painted a green dot on the thorax of the queen bee so children could find her quickly in the observation hive. Every year has a different colour theme and beekeepers mark the queen to track her age.

Club member 80-something-year-old Alf Cassidy volunteered at the booth on Saturday, while 20-year-old Eddy Bowser, who passed his Bee Masters certification in February at the UBC short course, helped on Sunday.

The age span with different years of experience also enriched the display, she added.

Through the DVD, videographer Louie Schwarzberg shows phenomenal warm-blooded pollinators at work. His DVD was another big hit at the display.

Dunaway said her thanks goes out to Otto Slavik, Geoff Moore, Barb Scharf, Tammy Tugnum, Dave Dunaway, Pollination Canada, Speedpro Signs, Lynda Archibald, Cinde Porter, Andre’s Electronics, club members and all of the volunteers who enrich the community with the Harvest Fair.

“We really needed this positive experience,” she said. “This week the Ontario Beekeeping Association announced it’s taking a class action suit against Bayer and Sygenta over neonicotinoid because of pesticide poisoning.”

There is still a long way to go with public awareness, however, many people are trying and taking home the seed packets was one step toward that, Dunaway said.