National Honey Month concludes: Beekeepers create a buzz at State Fair
September is National Honey Month, but even when the month-long observance ends, attendees at the State Fair of Virginia can continue the celebration.
Representatives of the Virginia State Beekeepers Association will host an exhibit at the State Fair, which will run from Sept. 29 through Oct. 8 at The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County. Beekeepers will be available to talk about the importance of honeybees as pollinators for the nation’s food supply, demonstrate the components of a honeybee hive and show fairgoers how honey is harvested.
“National Honey Month puts a spotlight on the importance of supporting honeybees and local beekeepers. We encourage people to show their support by buying local honey at local markets,” said Rusty Foltz, VSBA president. “We hope people will come to the fair and see the beekeepers’ exhibit. They will be able to get an up-close look at how bees behave in the observation hive and be able to purchase local Virginia honey.”
The beekeepers’ exhibit is a designated stop in the fair’s Educational Exposition, during which students on field trips explore Virginia agricultural and natural resources through exhibitions and competitions.
In 2016, Virginia’s honey production was valued at $1.1 million. Honeybee pollination nationwide contributes more than $15 billion to the value of crop production each year, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Agriculture enjoys a symbiotic relationship with honeybees. While the honeybee is not the only pollinator important to crop production, the honeybee is perhaps one of the most efficient pollinators,” remarked Tony Banks, a Virginia Farm Bureau Federation commodity marketing specialist.
National Honey Month, initiated by the National Honey Board in 1989, coincides with honey harvest. In the U.S., honey collection is heaviest in September and typically concludes at the end of September as bees begin to prepare their hives for winter.
“National Honey Month celebrates honey resulting directly from the honeybee’s pollination work,” Banks added. “Whether someone owns a couple of hives or a hundred, hive owners can use the honeybees to help pollinate their garden or farm crops. The honey can be consumed, shared or sold.”