It's hard to think of an insect that's more mythologized than the bee. Nope, dear spiders, you don't qualify -- you're arachnids -- so it is that fuzzy, stinger-carting maker of honey that forever holds our human fascination, a little dread on occasion, but ultimately our care and respect.
Respect and fascination course through the California State Beekeepers Association like worker bees shimmying through the narrow passages of a tightly knit hive. The organization is marking its 125th year, and its annual convention, which will buzz through Valencia from Nov. 18 through 20, covers not only professional and ecological matters of beedom -- oh so important -- but the questions and concerns of the home and urban beekeepers, as well.
You've heard beekeeping in the city has been gaining air, like a fat bumble on the wind, in recent years? It's gone beyond a trend piece into a here-to-stay kind of thing.
The three-day gathering will discuss everything beekeeping, from "colony collapse research to bee foraging to making mead," while the exhibit hall will "be filled with resources, supplies, and equipment for any type of beekeeper."
And, of course, the 125th anniversary will be acknowledged, and those Golden State families that have been in the beekeeping business over multiple generations.
If you've been considering taking the veil -- and the rest of the clothing one must don to handle insects that come with pointy behinds -- and creating an apiary in your own yard, the association is a fine place to start seeking information and know-how.
And as for dreading, a little, those tiny creatures? We don't, really, though everyone has likely fled a bee at a picnic (it's nearly a rite of eating outdoors). Bees are often in the news, for their important role in the natural cycle of life on this planet, so, yeah, we don't mind dashing away from one now and then.
We might even consider that urban apiary. We hear they are quite the thing, and also? Mead.