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Beekeepers Swarm to Campus Aug. 5 - 9

If you had rheumatoid arthritic and heard that a bee sting administered by a licensed professional might reduce your pain, would you voluntarily choose to be stung?

The therapeutic combination of acupuncture sites and bee venom – apitherapy – is one of the topics bringing a swarm of more than 700 beekeepers to West Chester University this week. They are attending the Eastern Apicultural Society annual conference hosted by the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association from Monday, Aug. 5, through Friday, Aug. 9. The conference is directed toward newcomers to the industry, especially small-scale operators.

The public is also invited to register at a day rate and to take advantage of a free family-friendly program, "Well Bee-ing: Your Move," Wednesday, Aug. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. Adults can meet, query and learn about bees from the experts in one session (Sykes Student Union Theater) and in a separate session (Sykes Lounge) the young and young-at-heart can meet three young beekeepers who have been crowned Pennsylvania or national Honey Queens and Princesses. The "royals" will help children make bee-themed crafts, taste and cook with varieties of honey, and explain the importance of pollinators for the food we put on our tables.

Find out more about the benefits of bees at the conference or at The onsite registration desk opens at 7 a.m. Contact Greg Fariss at or 336-998-2975. Most of the conference sessions take place at Brandywine Hall and Merion Science Center, or in outdoor locations near Merion. Among the public events:

Monday and Tuesday
8 a.m to 5:30 p.m.
Bee Yards (CAUTION: Those with allergies to bee stings should avoid the bee yards.) A collection of hives will be set up in two locations and beekeepers can answer questions. Onlookers should wear light-colored clothing and no perfumes to avoid attracting bees. Outdoor classroom between Schmucker Science Center and Merion Science Center, and the west side of Merion.

Tuesday, Aug. 6
3:45 to 4:30 p.m.
Cooking With Honey, featuring the Pennsylvania Honey Queen and Princess. Brandywine 4.

4:45 to 5:30 p.m.
Bee Olympics
The Pennsylvania Honey Queen and Honey Princess will be the judges for games in which beekeepers compete, such as a race where teams carry a 50-pound hive. Academic Quad

Wednesday, Aug. 7
7 to 9 p.m.
"Well Bee-ing: Your Move."
For adults: A chat with bee experts, hosted by KYW garden reporter Phran Novelli. Speakers: Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware entomologist and author of the award-winning 2007 book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens (Timber Press); Dennis vanEngelsdorp, honey bee expert and researcher at the University of Maryland, where he directs the Bee Informed Partnership (; and Brian Snyder, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Sykes Student Union Theater.

For children: Meet the National Honey Princess, Pennsylvania Honey Queen and Pennsylvania Honey Princess. All three will host interactive stations where families can learn why pollination is important to our food supply, taste varieties of honey, make beeswax candles, and create bee-themed craft items. They can even try on a beekeeper’s suit and watch the bees work in a Plexiglas hive. Sykes Student Union Lounge.

Thursday and Friday, Aug. 8 and 9
Aug. 8, from 1:30 to 5 p.m. & Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Honey Show in which beekeepers compete for top honors in such categories as best extracted honey, best comb honey, best honey cookery, and six other categories. Free and open to the public. Common Grounds, Sykes Student Union main floor.