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Bee kind: Benedictine Sisters attend beekeeping conference

Bee kind: Benedictine Sisters attend beekeeping conference - (24-10-2019)

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PHOTO: Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Ruth Elaine Starman, OSB has enjoyed learning more about beekeeping at the Sisters' monastery in Clyde, Missouri.

Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Nancy Rose Gucwa, OSB and Sister Ruth Elaine Starman, OSB attended the Missouri State Beekeepers Association’s fall conference in October at Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Missouri.

The two-day conference included presentations on keeping hives alive, the mystery of hives, honey bees are what they eat, and queen rearing and breeding.

Casey Bergthold, Missouri state coordinator of Quails Forever & Pheasants Forever, shared a presentation titled "Honey Bee and Pollinator Habit Planting and Assistance.”

The Benedictine Sisters dove into beekeeping in 2016 and soon learned it’s an ongoing process with much to discover from season to season.

“I enjoyed most just hearing tips from experts on how they manage their bee hives,” Sister Ruth Elaine said. “Any extra insight is most helpful in our own quest of keeping bees.”

Currently, the Sisters manage four hives on the monastery property, one of which was captured off a wall near the front entrance of the motherhouse earler this year.

“All our hives did well this summer, and we extracted 100 pounds of honey,” Sister Ruth added.

The beekeeping Sisters hope to grow their bee family to include five hives on the property.

Experts assert that a healthy bee population is vital to the ecosystem, as their pollination duties are an integral part of agriculture and for the growth of trees and flowers that provide safe habitats for a variety of species. It is that interdependence that has sparked Sister Ruth Elaine’s quest for learning beyond the keeping of bees. She started a pollinator garden that will be good for bees and butterflies.

“It’s grown into an interest in learning about bee habitats and what flowers are the best for pollinators,” she said. “As Benedictines, we strive to be good stewards of our earth and that includes doing our part to help combat the decimation of the bee populations and to do what we can to encourage their growth and propagation.”