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Niwot abuzz with bees

Niwot was buzzing with energy on Saturday, August 27th. Tents featuring mead tastings, kettlecorn, honey, hives, artwork, confections, live music and a costume contest lined Second Avenue. The Annual Honey Bee Harvest Festival drew crowds of all ages who swarmed the scheduled activities and displays. Many emerged from visiting Colorado Landmark Realtors in the true honey bee spirit, sporting bee antennas and yellow rubber bracelets. "Most of the kids came in groups", said Aubrie Cook, honey bee helper and Niwot High School student. "We gave out real honey lollipops–it was such a big turnout!"

Around the corner and inside the Niwot Emporium, festivarians clamored to roll their own beeswax candles. Nels Carroll shared her harrowing experience getting stung on both shoulders simultaneously, but remained fearless in her princess costume as she rolled her candle with a flourish.

Volunteers shared valuable information and helpful advice, debunking common myths about pollinators.

"There are 950 types of bees in Colorado," explained Liana Street of People & Pollinators. "More specifically, there are 450 types of bees in the Boulder Valley. Honey bees aren't actually native–they originally were brought overr from Europe for candle-making purposes."

For those wanting to see bees close up and personal, several booths displayed hives and pointed the queens out to curious attendees.

For a take-home depiction of these amazing pollinators, Few of a Kind Vintage + Mercantile founder Angie Miltersen handed out a take-home art project of a beautifully detailed bee.

"Honey bees are defensive but not aggressive," explained Beth Conley, owner of Bee Squared Apiaries, during her lecture at the Left Hand Grange. "Swarms aren't dangerous, either. In a swarm, they have nothing to defend-no house, no babies, no food."

That said, Beth was clear about the changing protocol for dealing with swarms.

"People used to say to leave a swarm and they would go away in a few days. No longer is it safe to leave a swarm. Call the swarm removal hotline," Beth counsels. "In nature, the swarm would settle into a tree cavity, but in a suburban or urban environment, they will settle in a soffit or desk support post."

While a quieter scene in Cottonwood Square, business owners invited attendees to step out of the heat and sample little luxuries or pamper themselves.

Kathy Trauner, owner of Fly Away Home, served delicious homemade Bee's Knees cocktails, mixing them with a bit of local honey to "counter the tartness of the lemons."

Kathy even walked cocktails over to Blessings Day Spa, where owner Julie Stenz raved about the refreshment, while giving out bee-decorated water bottles filled with lemonade.

Stenz also handed out individual jars of milk and honey body scrub and body butter. She explained, "The antioxidants in honey help to repair damaged skin and its natural antibacterial properties help control acne. Honey is also a natural humectant that helps keep your skin moist."


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