The Uxbridge Quaker Meetinghouse (at the corner of Quaker Highway and Aldrich St.) will hold an Open House on Sunday, August 13th, and it’s going to Bee a Happening Event!
Join local beekeepers and their see-through hive from 2 to 4 PM as they answer questions about the lives and importance of these tiny creatures. Children will be especially captivated when they learn to identify the queen bee and understand the special roles that various kinds of bees play in the hive. Honey bees, now found from coast to coast in the United States, were first brought to Massachusetts and Virginia from Europe in the 1600s. By the time the 1770 Uxbridge Meetinghouse was constructed, “wild” bees had migrated from the east coast almost as far west as Michigan. Native Americans called the insects the “white man’s flies”, as they often preceded the western migration of European settlers. The bees were not only important to early agriculture, but the honey they produced was the primary sweetener in Colonial times. Honey was also used medicinally for wound care, cough suppression and as a preservative. Beeswax, the casing of empty honey cells, was used for cosmetics, as a sealant and for candles.
The diminishing bee population has been a worldwide concern to scientists for many years because as much as one third of the world’s food supply is dependent on insect pollination. Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is the subject of several important studies, most notably those at Harvard University. Each winter it is estimated that farmers now lose about 30% of their hives, while a 5-10% loss was the norm in years past. Beekeepers are exploring the effects of habitat loss, pesticide use and the presence of viral diseases to try to determine the causes of CCD. Many test hives, like those pictured in this article, are maintained locally in the Blackstone Valley.
In addition to learning about bees, visitors to the Open House will have the opportunity to tour the historic Quaker Meetinghouse. Members of the Meeting House Association will be on hand to answer questions and to serve simple refreshments. For further information go to UxbridgeQuakerMeeting on facebook or contact Joe Proia at 508-278-2386.