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The Monongalia County Beekeeper’s Association looking for busy bee helpers

By Jade Ruggieri

From 9 a.m. to noon June 4, the Monongalia County Beekeeper’s Association will be cleaning up, planting flowers and adding pollinator hotels to the flowers at 200 Holland Avenue, Westover, at the Triangle.

Anyone with gloves and gardening tools who would like to volunteer is welcome to join the event.

“Bees are fascinating and help our world so much,” said Shawna Cross, member of the Monongalia County Beekeeper’s Association. “They not only pollinate plants that provide us with food but also help forests and wooded areas grow.  This provides a habitat for wildlife, roots for the trees and vegetation helps prevent soil erosion.”

In 2019, Cross was talking with a friend about their shared love of honey which led her down the bee hole of becoming a beekeeper. Through the Monongalia County Beekeeper’s Association, Cross took a beginner class and became fascinated, especially with the inside of a hive. Cross described the inside as the bee’s own ecosystem where everything they do is for the good of the hive.

“I think people could learn a lot from the way a hive and all the bees operate as one, no one is out for themselves, survival depends on working together,” Cross said.

According to Bee City USA, pollinators are responsible for one-third of the food and drink consumed on the planet however, up to 40% of pollinators may be at risk of extinction in the coming years.

“A lot of people don’t realize how important honeybees are,” Cross said. “All the people spraying pesticides create issues for pollinators.”

Through Cross’ passion, she was able to get the 2021 city ordinance amended to allow urban beekeeping in Westover.

As Cross prepares to represent the third ward for the June 14 municipal election for Westover City Council, she would like this event to propel the idea of Westover applying to be a Bee City USA designation to preserve native pollinators.

“This would show the city and the beekeepers involved in these projects are striving to make a difference, however small it may seem,” Cross said. “We should try to improve our lives and our communities any way we can, the longest journey begins with the first step.  

WV Jewelry & Loan LLC is sponsoring the event with refreshments and a canopy set up in the parking lot for some shade. The Hook Team of Keller Williams Morgantown Realty made a donation to aid with supply purchases needed.