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Connecticut Tree Festival In Norwalk Explores Plight Of The Bumble Bee

John Igneri and wife, Christine Tierney, with a bee colony in their Wilson Cove backyard.
John Igneri and wife, Christine Tierney, with a bee colony in their Wilson Cove backyard. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. – Two Norwalk beekeepers will join the lineup of exhibitors appearing on the midway at the Connecticut Tree Festival in Norwalk’s Cranbury Park.

The festival will be on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.

The Back Yard Beekeepers Association, a fraternity of hobbyists dedicated to reversing the plight of the bumble bee, will be on hand to discuss why bees are so important to the environment.

An unoccupied beehive will be exhibited to illustrate the complex and sophisticated interaction that drives a bee colony and the life cycle of the pollinators that are so vital to generating the world’s food supply. The association’s 250-plus members are concentrated largely in Fairfield County.

Among them are retired investment manager John Igneri, and his wife, Christine Tierney, who nurture two hives in the backyard of their home in Wilson Cove. Igneri is a member of the Norwalk Common Council representing District E of Rowayton, West Norwalk, Harborview and Brookside and is also a commissioner for the Sixth Taxing District.

For the honey the hives produce, beekeeping is a commercial enterprise. For homeowners like the Igneri’s, the activity is a fascinating recreation.

Both factions are engaged in elevating public awareness about the afflictions that endanger the entire species—disease, mites, urbanization, pesticides and aggressive so-called killer bees that impede bee-raising and gathering honey. Igneri’s passion for beekeeping is inspired by the essential function of bees in food production and the window the hive affords for observing the daily interaction of their society.

“The bees have the ability to communicate with each other,” says Igneri, “and every member of the colony has a specialty, activities like gathering pollen, cleaning the hive or overseeing the newly hatched brood. They also seem to be less aggressive with the beekeeper when they get to know his or her routine.”

Upwards of 40 exhibitors associated with the ecology will form a midway of booths in the park for the Connecticut Tree Festival. Everything is available to the public at no charge – admission, parking, chances on a variety of door prizes, expert advice of tree-planting and a picnic-style lunch.

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