Honey Bee talk August 3 at Lodge

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Roxbury — Beekeeper Joe Hewitt will be featured in the next Wild Saturday program on Saturday, Aug. 3 at 1 p.m. at John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge, 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road.
“The Life and Plight of the Honey Bee” is a free program, sponsored by Phil Lenihan and Orphic Gallery of Roxbury. All are welcome.
Visitors are invited to come early or linger after the program to tour the rustic farmhouse where famed naturalist John Burroughs spent summers from 1910 to 1920. The lodge is open for free tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays on the first weekend of every month. For more information call 254-6025 or visit www.woodchucklodge.org.
Joe Hewitt, a lifelong resident of the Catskills, learned the art of raising bees for honey from Merwin E. Ballard of Roxbury back in 1953, and has kept hives of bees for 50 years. He will talk about the honey bee’s life cycle and social structure, and also the perilous condition of the nation’s bees, so critical to a balanced environment and our food supply.
In recent years, honeybees have fallen victim to illness, mites and pesticides suspected to be the cause of colony collapse disorder, which has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives. Last year Hewitt lost half of his bees who were so stressed they could not survive the winter. “Then the bears carried away what was left,” Hewitt said.
“Nature isn’t anything like it was 60 years ago,” bemoans the beekeeper. Though he’s not a scientist, Hewitt feels that these miraculous little insects are “the canary in the coal mine,” harbingers of ecological decline that cannot be denied.
Come learn about the state of the honeybee and hear related excerpts from John Burroughs’ essays. Reservations for the talk or for tours are not needed. A picnic table is available for open air lunch.
“Wild Saturdays” is a series of free nature programs held on the first Saturday of the month through October at Woodchuck Lodge. The next program will be “Foxes and other Fur Bearers” with guide Aaron Engle, on September 7, sponsored by Lamont Engineers.