Book buzz

‘Keeping Bees Alive’ book reading, signing to be held by Superior Beekeeping Club

Beekeeper Rachel Hahn prepares to check bee hives. The Superior Beekeeping Club is hosting a a reading of “Keeping Bees Alive” by Lawrence Connor at 6 p.m. July 16 at the Lost Creek Community Center for beekeepers, the public and anyone who wants to learn more about the importance, care and keeping of bees. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Landis)

MARQUETTE — Bees are key links in the ecosystem and food chain, pollinating much of the food humans and animals depend upon.

For those who would like to learn more about the significance of bees, their care and keeping, a reading of “Keeping Bees Alive” by Lawrence Connor will be hosted by the Superior Beekeeping Club at 6 p.m. July 16 at the Lost Creek Community Center.

Connor, an author and publisher of Kalamazoo-based Wicwas Press, specializes in the publication of bee books and will be reading from his new book, organizers said.

Attendees will have a chance to learn from Connor’s book, ask questions, enjoy a book signing and browse a selection of other Wicwas Press publications, which include recipes, guides for beginning to advanced beekeepers, books on bee biology, beekeeping history books and more.

“I’m looking forward to meeting beekeepers and others from the area,” Connor said. “And it should be a fun evening.”

The cover of Lawrence Connor’s “Keeping Bees Alive” book, which was released July 1, is pictured. (Image courtesy of Lawrence Connor)

The event will be a good opportunity for beekeepers of all experience levels to learn more about caring for and sustaining their bee colonies, as well as those who are interested in starting the practice, Connor said.

“I think it’s going to have value to all beekeepers, including people who are just getting into bees,” he said. “That’s a big part of it right now, people want to get into bees but don’t know how to do it.”

However, the event isn’t just for beekeepers, Superior Beekeeping Club President Michelle Landis emphasized, as it allows the community in general to “to get a better understanding of the plight of the honey bee,” she said.

“We’ve tried to bring in educational opportunities, not only for beekeepers in the area — we do a lot of bee-specific things for beekeepers — but we also still like bring in things that can engage the community and people that don’t necessarily have bees in the backyard can still enjoy,” Landis said.

Beyond beekeepers and the general public, Landis and Connor said the event may be of interest to those in food production as well, as bees are responsible for pollinating much of what we eat.

“If we didn’t have bees, there’s a lot of fruits and vegetables that we wouldn’t have in our market,” Landis said.

It’s particularly significant to educate the public on the care and keeping of bees, she said, as bee populations are falling, with some even placed on the endangered species list.

“Honey bees and native bees, they all do a huge part in pollination,” Landis said. “I think they’re kind of like the canary in the coal mine. When you start having problems with bees, honey bees, things like that, then you have to start looking at what’s going on in our environment.”

It’s important to spread the word about the role of bees and bee-friendly practices, Landis said, as while many grasp the “concept that bee populations are declining and that they’re major pollinator,” there’s not always an understanding of how to support bee populations.

“It raises their awareness a little bit. So maybe they’ll make some better choices in their environment, maybe they’ll choose not to spray their lawn or wait to mow the dandelions. It might just make them a little more conscious,” Landis said. “I don’t expect everyone to want to be a beekeeper because of this, but I do think it will raise their awareness.”

One simple way to support local bees and beekeepers is to buy local honey, Connor said, emphasizing that doing so “ultimately supports the strength of the pollinators in your area.”

Local honey is auctioned off by the Superior Beekeeping Club to raise funds, as the club doesn’t not have a membership fee, but simply asks beekeepers who use its honey extraction equipment to donate a small jar of honey to put up for auction, Landis said.

For those who are interested in starting their own beekeeping practice, Connor encourages them to make use of beekeeping guides and literature, as well as their local beekeeping club.

For more information on the Superior Beekeeping Club, events and how to join, visit the club’s Facebook page or visit the website at superiorbeekeeping.weebly.com.

For more information on Wicwas Press, visit http://wicwas.com.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.