Public invited to Alamo Area Beekeepers Association 11th annual Field Day.

Each year, the Alamo Area Beekeepers Association extends a special invitation to nature lovers of all ages who are interested in learning about bees and becoming a beekeeper. Admission is free. Attendees are urged to bring their own lawn chairs and a potluck dish if they are staying for the 12:30 p.m. lunch.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 24, 2008 (RAIN OR SHINE!)

WHERE: At the DeWitt County ranch of Lauren & Tom Bartholomew

614 Boehm Road outside of Cuero, Texas.

Directions to the Bartholomew Ranch:

From San Antonio, go east on U.S. Highway 87. Drive through La Vernia, Nixon and Westhoff. About six miles past Westhoff, turn left onto St. John’s School Road. Go one mile and turn left at the church onto Schlinke Road. Go one-half mile and, at the bottom of the hill, turn right onto Boehm Road. Continue four-tenths of a mile to the ranch entrance, which is the first cattle guard on the left.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. and this year’s field day will feature soap-making and hands-on beekeeping demonstrations, including how to install a package of bees in a hive.

On April 22, citizens around the world participated in the 27th observance of Earth Day. Recently, scientists at the University of Virginia uncovered evidence that air pollution is interfering with the process of pollination carried out by bees and other insects. Their findings, published in the March issue of the scientific journal Atmospheric Environment, indicate that emissions from industrial plants and cars may be interfering in the ability of bees to follow the scent of flowers to their source, thereby playing a role in their decline.

Honeybees are the chief pollinators for more than 90 different North American crops. It is said that foods dependent upon bee pollination account for one-third of the average American’s diet, including the alfalfa that is fed to milk cows and beef cattle. Imagine the impact that honeybees have on the grocery bills of today's consumers. Therefore, now more than ever, there is a crucial need for more widespread cultivation of honeybee colonies by commercial honey producers, orchard growers, gardeners and hobbyist beekeepers.

Members of the Alamo Area Beekeepers Association have put together a day-long program of beekeeping techniques. Margaret Wolfshohl, of Mico, will demonstrate how to make soaps, lotions and creams out of beeswax.

The goal of the association is to support people interested in beekeeping, whether they are looking to increase their garden yields or just because they like honey.

Membership in the Alamo Area Beekeepers Association

The Alamo Area Beekeepers Association meets six times a year at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of odd-numbered months. Call (830) 303-4904 or (210) 722-7380 or (210) 344-4329 for the location of the next gathering.

Annual dues are $15 for individuals and families.

Each meeting features a program on a beekeeping topic and includes a potluck dinner, question-and-answer session and door prizes.

Come join us at the May 24th Field Day and learn about the interesting world of honey bees!