Howdy Intrepid Stock Show Bee Booth Wranglers!
Thank you so much from all the bees in Colorado and the Boulder County Beekeepers Association for your participation in our most far reaching public outreach event! The BCBA has been providing this booth as a public service since 1977, but we couldn’t do it without everyone’s help!
We are part of CSU’s Ag Adventure. We don’t have a state sponsored beekeeping program, so BCBA has partnered with CSU to provide an educational booth. There can be no commercial advertising of any kind. It’s a rule. No selling your honey or putting out your business flyers, please.
The booth consists of two tables, a backdrop with beautiful, informative bee posters, two glass display cases, examples of beeswax and pollen, a sweet tabletop mini hive (no bees), lots of informational handouts, beekeeping tools and suit, and, the main attraction, an observation hive with live bees.
You can go to the Doodle poll to see whether anyone else is signed up with you. Please be on time and plan to stay for your whole shift. The person before you is tired and ready for a break. The exhibit can’t really be locked and secured against crowds when not staffed. This year it looks like we’ll be out in the open with traffic flow all around us instead of up against a wall as in the past.
Tickets for the first 4 days, Sat 6th, Sun 7th, Mon 8th, Tues 9th will be held at will call in the front of bee poop colored Expo/Education building. Tell them you’re with the Boulder County Beekeepers booth and give your name. The rest of the tickets will be mailed out. The tickets are for general admission to the grounds, so everything but the special shows and rodeos. (We wanted to have a pricey ticket rodeo event where we could dress up in our spangly sequined bee suits and climb up on ladders to catch swarms of equally spangly bees, maybe another time.) Feel free to visit other parts of the NWSS outside of your time slot. There’s a lot to see from draft mules to stock dog trials to unbelievably goofy-looking poultry! You can buy additional tickets and see the schedule on their website http://www.nationalwestern.com/.
National Western Stock Show
Hall of Education/Expo
4655 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216
The Hall of Education is a 30’s style yellow brick building with outlines of domestic animals on the outside on the north side of I-70. Here’s a map:
http://www.nationalwestern.com/wp-conte ... Map-17.pdf
Parking isn't easy or straightforward. The vouchers ($6) are for the Vendor Lot B on weekends when other lots may be full. Other lots are free, but it’s first come first served along with the general public. Look for NWSS signs. Leave plenty of time to find a spot. There’s a shuttle that runs every 10 min from most parking lots. You may be able to find street parking. There are private businesses offering parking spots, but your voucher isn’t good with them. On weekends you can bus/train to or park at Coors Field, 27th and Blake, and take a shuttle that runs every 10 min.
You can also try taking public transit, but basically you can’t get there from here during the week, not easily. Here’s RTD’s Trip Planner https://www.rtd-denver.com/app/plan
A reasonable option might be Flatirons Flyer 1 from Boulder to Union Station and UberX to the NWSS. Other areas may be accessible by light rail to Union Station. YMMV
Once you're there go up the stairs, though checkin, up more stairs to the third floor. CSU is right at the top and the Ag Adventure is to the left. We're between the weavers and the potato bags, across from the egg barn and pigs.
Bring something to drink! You’ll be doing plenty of talking and it’s surprising how thirsty that makes you. You might want to bring a snack too. Getting food/drink at the NWSS may be a 30 minute endeavor and you shouldn’t leave the booth for that long if you're alone. And this isn’t exactly the place to find vegan, gluten-free, fair trade fare, unless you count deep fried Twinkies as vegan.
If you have a cell phone, keep it with you, but please turn off the sound.
Set up and close down
10-2: Uncover the beehive, restock the handouts, put out the display materials. This is the school group shift Tues-Fri and church/civic groups on weekends. Watch for wandering little hands around the bees.
2-5: Weekdays are fairly slow, but weekends will be busy, especially MLK weekend.
5-8: This is the time that families come through. It may be slow during special events. At the end of this shift, please put the spacer blocks on top of the hive to hold the cloth off the air vents and cover the hive with the cloth.
The observation hive
Is the biggest draw of the Ag Adventure! It does contain live bees. The whole thing is very stressful for them, being yanked out of their hive in January, cooped up for 5-7 days, at room temperature, unable to go on cleansing flights, lots of vibrations. We do this because of tremendous educational value they provide, but it’s our job to keep the stress level down as much as possible. Try reduce pounding, tapping, spinning. There will be 3 hives this year, and we’re trying some different styles, including the Ulster nuc. Mostly they’re held together with screws or draw hasps, which will be taped/wired to make them less accessible, though not foolproof. The sides are clear acrylic, not glass. It’s more durable, but also flexible, so pressing on it may open some small escape routes. There will be roll of tape if this gets to be a problem. The queen is confined to the top frame by an excluder. If she moves to the back side, you can turn the hive so the public can see her. We’ve tried to foolproof everything, but Murphy’s Law and bees . . .
If you must leave the booth unattended, or if the next shift hasn’t arrived, and after the last shift of the day, please put the spacer blocks on top to hold the cloth off the air vents and cover the hive with the cloth.
Mostly end up on the floor or in the trash, so don’t just routinely hand them out to everyone. If someones asks, however, distribute freely, and they can be a great way to summarize your answers to questions. It’s why they’re there. Bee clubs have been invited to bring their cards, so you can try to match people with something in their geographic area if they’re interested. Likewise, some of the Why Join a Bee Club flyers will have local stickers on the back. Feel free to promote your local bee club. For questions that are in-depth, out of your league or rude/hostile, refer them to the BCBA or CSBA websites.
We've been asked specifically not to hand out stickers because they end up on everything and the janitorial staff has objected.
For non-urgent issues and feedback, jot them down on the logbook/clipboard.
For urgent issues (with the bees for example)
Kristina Williams 720-278-6872 (mobile/text). I’ll be at the American Beekeepers Conference 10-14 January, but otherwise in Boulder.
Phil Bradbury 303-564-1270 (mobile text) in Erie
Fred Powell 720-530-8828 (mobile text) in Highlands Ranch
Frequently asked questions
Where’s the queen? She’s in there (hopefully). She’ll be marked with yellow paint, the 2017 color, for when she was born. 2018 is red. The difference between her and the workers is early nutrition. She gets more and better food when she’s a larva (baby). Rather than just pointing to her, try for a little more engagement. Can you find her? Refer to the posters for visuals. What’s she doing?
How many bees are in there?
About 3,000 workers who are all female but don’t lay eggs. In a regular hive 10,000 to 60,000. There are usually some taking out the trash, or trying to.
One queen, also a female, who lays all the eggs. She’s not like a human queen. She’s important, but replaceable and she doesn’t get to boss anyone around.
Drones, maybe one or two, the males, with big eyes and a chunky body. There are lots more in the summer when their job is to mate with a new queen from another hive (not their sisters).
Will they get out? Ideally, no. They want to stay with the rest of their family in the hive. If some do get out they would fly toward the light way up there.
What are those ones doing? (pointing to the dead bees in the bottom) They’re dead. Some are dying from old age and some are dying because it’s stressful for any animal to be here, including bees. This is an agriculture education exhibit. Animals live and animals die. We try to let them live well and not die needlessly.
What’s happening to all the bees?
- Diseases and parasites like varroa mites
- Pesticides. Insecticides and fungicides (not Roundup, not GMO’s), neonicotinoids because they’re used so much, are highly toxic, are water soluble and are used for seed coatings and the dust gets everywhere. (Last year the sugar beet booth has some bright pink coated seeds, 'though not neonics).
Organic insecticides kill bees too!
- Poor nutrition. Bees need lots of different kinds of flowers like we need different kinds of food.
- NOT cell phones, contrails, Roundup or GMO’s, though GMO crops tend to need more pesticides.
- Reduce or eliminate pesticide use - you, your neighbors, your town, farms that grow your food.
Support local beekeepers, buy local honey made by Colorado bees.[/list]
These things also help the 900 species of native, non-honey bees that we have in Colorado. (500+ in Boulder County). They need help even more.
I want to keep bees!
- Keeping bees does not “Save the Bees.”
- Responsibility and commitment of time, learning and $.
- Check out the CSBA website (it’s on most of the flyers).
- Take a class
- Join a local bee club.
- You can’t learn by watching YouTube.
- Why Join a Bee Club flyer. The local clubs may have their stickers on the backs, so try to match these up with the visitor. Otherwise, refer them to the CSBA website or give them a business card from a local club.
- Subscribe to a bee magazine like American Bee Journal or Bee Culture.
- Consider helping native bees too.
Be sympathetic, but stern. Beekeeping is not easy. It takes specialized knowledge. Not everyplace is suited for bees. Try to steer them toward joining a bee club or taking a class.
Have you ever been stung? Well, just be honest here. Beekeepers get stung all the time and live to tell about it. So do little kids. Not a big deal.
I’m SO allergic to bees! Technically, we all are. Swelling, itching, redness are all part of a local allergic reaction. An anaphylactic response, where the whole body reacts, is life threatening, but not very common. Most anaphylactic reactions are to yellow jackets, not bees. However, we’re not doctors and should be careful about giving medical advice.
Where’s the bathroom?