Gracious Words are a Honeycomb

CCBA Annual Conference 2015

Today I attended a beekeeping conference at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. The Chester County Beekeepers Association (CCBA) sponsors it each year, and local beekeeper Karla Eisen thought I might be interested.  I was, and it was awesome.

It was perfect day to attend a conference, rather dreary and raining the entire day. So other than the long drive up and back (over 2 hours each way) I didn’t mind sitting inside for the duration. I am not a big fan of driving in the dark or the rain, so I was hoping the trip would be enjoyable. There were two tracks: beginner and advanced. I choose the advanced partly because of the speakers, and partly because I have read enough to perhaps benefit from a more advanced discussion.

What a good decision that was! The beginner track read like a first-time beekeeping course, so I was happy to be in the advanced session. Between the books I’ve read and my ongoing Bee School, the beginner outline looked very familiar.

2015 CCBA Speakers

Speakers for the CCBA Annual Conference 2015. From left to right: Michael Palmer, the well-known Vermont beekeeper; Dr. Dewey M Caron, with over 40 years teaching, researching, and tending bees; and Dr. Thomas D. Seeley, professor at Cornell and author of the books Honeybee Ecology (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive (1995), and Honeybee Democracy (2010).

The advanced track was led by Michael Palmer and Dr. Thomas Seeley. Michael Palmer runs French Hill Apiaries in Vermont, and his views and videos are easily found on the Internet.  Dr. Seeley is, among other things, author of the book Honeybee Democracy that I have mentioned here and thoroughly enjoyed. When I arrived and saw the schedule I was even more excited:

Tom Seeley: A survivor population of European honey bees living in the wild in New York State

Michael Palmer: The Sustainable Apiary

Tom Seeley: The bee hive as a honey factory

Michael Palmer: Queen rearing in the Sustainable Apiary

Tom Seeley: Hive thirst: how does a honey bee colony control its water intake?

I have a ton of notes that I will write up in the next couple days, but I least wanted to post this summary of my very inspiring day. The conference was well run and probably had 250 people in attendance. The Marion Science Center at the University served as venue for the event, which had amble space and a cafeteria where lunch was served.

Look for more on the conference in the next few days.


The oh-so-appropriate title comes from the NIV translation of the Bible, and can be found in Proverbs 16:24.

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones

This really is true, as an exchange of pleasant greetings or kind words can do wonders for a person’s well being. Even reading about a smile can make you smile (did it?).

The next two stanzas (16:25 and 16:26) seem to match up well with the two speakers. Stanza 25 represents the presentations from Tom Seeley, while stanza 26 the sessions from Michael Palmer.

There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.

The appetite of laborers works for them;
their hunger drives them on.

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