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Bee Fest is buzzing

June 24, 2018 GMT

As a gift from his two sons four years ago, Marc Duncan received a beekeeping starter kit. And in the years since, it has become of hobby for the Cedartown resident which led him to Rome on Saturday morning for Bee Fest at Ridge Ferry Park.

“It gives you something to do,” he said.

From his table outside the Rome-Floyd ECO Center, Duncan had several bottles of his IZE Bzz’s honey, from his bees he keeps in the field behind his home, out for sale. He was not exactly sure why his honey seemed so clear, but he suspected it had something to do with the abundance of white clover his bees pollinated.

“They’re gonna go to what they like,” Duncan said of the changes in the honey based on what bees are drawn to in their area.

Also, for the curious in attendance, he brought a hive frame with a bee swarm — a hive separation process for reproduction, he said — and put it out on display from a wooden box he made.

Duncan, who is a member of the Rome-Floyd Beekeepers Association, was pleased to pull off the wooden cover and reveal the hive sandwiched between two panes. He pulled out his flashlight to help direct the eyes of 9-year-old Kaylin Kelly to where the queen bee was.

The name for Duncan’s honey is derived from the first letters of each of his grandchildren’s names — Isabel, Zeke and Eli. Of his grandkids, Eli has shown the greatest fascination for bees, but his fear remains, Duncan said.

The event fell in line with National Pollinator Week and was used as an educational opportunity, part of a continuing effort since Rome became a certified Bee City. Informational displays on native Georgia plants that pollinators are attracted to were set up, with photo cards helping visitors identify them.

During Bee Fest, the farmers market was hopping and was used for a scavenger hunt. Those completing the scavenger hunt form and successfully unscrambling the letters corresponding to the 10 pollinators and plants received a prize. Plant seeds were given out for attendees to return home and help create a pollinator-rich environment.

Kids also had a chance to make some bee-related crafts. Using napkins, clothespins, pipe cleaners and paint, they made craft bees.