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Graced by the Presence of Bees

February 7th was an exciting month at our Village Farmers Market. What began as a normal Sunday became a captivating and educational experience for our Kiwanis volunteers, staff, vendors and faithful attendants. Mid-morning a swarm of bees detached themselves from a nearby beehive on 2nd Street, North of Harvard Avenue and landed on our volunteer canopy tent.

At first glance our farmers market staff were shocked as they were challenged with an ethical dilemma. What to do? Taking under consideration the lack of knowledge in the subject matter and the safety priority for our patrons/children — all while keeping our buzzy friends, friendly and alive.

After multiple phone calls to our community partners, we realized that our farmers market indeed has its own beekeeper. Mark Hoppe from Aunt Willie’s Apiary who has participated at our farmers market for over 20 years, came to the rescue. At the time we called, he was in the middle of picking up the remains of a nearby beehive that was raided by bears, common hazards of the trade. This little stunt cost Aunt Willie’s Apiary a sizable loss.

Did you know? Unlike in Winnie the Pooh, bears eat more than just honey. They will also consume the bees and larvae inside the beehive, which are a good source of protein.

With ease and with the help of a bee smoker, a swarm box and a brush (No suit), Hoppe safely relocated a couple hundred bees. He waited until the end of the market day to ensure safety to all. Hoppe was happy, bees lived to buzz about it and our market customers will eventually enjoy the sweets of the labor.

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Bees swarm at the farmers market
Bees made a temporary home on the volunteer tent at the Claremont Farmers & Artisans Market. The bees were safely relocated by our honey farmer.