We have always loved to celebrate National Honey Bee Day, but this year it means a little more to us over here at the Free Library! That’s because we’ve got bees of our very own buzzing around, and we hope you’ll come visit them soon.
Over at the Richmond Library, staff attempted to remove a feral beehive from the building’s masonry, which in turn led to an educational experience for all. Now, the library is home to an observatory honey bee hive! The Richmond librarians are busy introducing bee- and nature-inspired programming around the hives, including a partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to learn what bee-friendly plants you can grow in your yard. The Philadelphia Bee Company will teach the specifics of bee behaviors, how they communicate, and how necessary bees are to our planet. Staff will also be working with Greensgrow Farms for samples of raw honey, as well as local Philadelphia restaurateurs, who will show visitors how to cook with honey. Can you BEE-lieve all we have to learn from our little friends?
Meanwhile, across town at the Parkway Central Library, 240,000 honey bees are now living in a rooptop apiary, which includes four beehives on the north side of the building. We enlisted the help of Don Shump of the Philadelphia Bee Company to establish the apiary. The library's convenient downtown location makes the perfect home for the bees, who travel a radius of two miles for nectar, and the beautiful public and private gardens around the city offer a veritable smorgasbord of options! The hives will produce 60 pounds of honey annually for the Free Library, and, conveniently enough, they're located in the rooftop-backyard of the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center, so we won't have to go too far to find uses for all that honey! The Culinary Literacy Center uses honey in our Nourishing Literacy lesson Kitchen Science, Safety, and Flavors, where students explore how matter can be transformed. The matter, in this case, is food! We transform broccoli and cucumbers into Quickles (quick pickles), and the honey adds a little bit of sweetness to the sour, acidic flavor of the citrus and vinegar in the brine. They're BEEEEE-licious!
And now you know what's buzzing around the Free Library! If you’d like to study up on the importance of bees in our world, we’ve also got helpful online resources for you to browse, complete with bee-centric titles in our catalog, websites, and even some trivia from library staff! (Did you know that the modern beehive, called a Langstroth hive, was invented in Philadelphia?! Woop!)
Happy Honey Bee Day!