Walking Mountains explores the Science Behind Honeybees, Dec. 14 | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains explores the Science Behind Honeybees, Dec. 14

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Mike Luark the hive and showing off his healthy bees. Luark is the main beekeeper for Luark High Country Honey , which he runs with his wife, Ann.

AVON — One of the most familiar insects in the world is the honeybee. This member of the insect order Hymenoptera is essential to the human and natural world. No single animal species plays a more significant role in producing the fruits and vegetables that humans require to stay alive.

Commercial bees raised on farms for pollination purposes, along with wild bees, are responsible for pollinating an estimated 80 percent of all food crops in the United States, not to mention creating the sticky-sweet gift of honey.

Walking Mountains Science Center and special guest Ann Luark, from Luark High Country Honey, present the Science Behind Honeybees on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The discussion will address the survival challenges that honeybee populations face and the global implications of their disappearance.

Luark will speak of her family's honey operation and inspire amateur beekeepers and gardeners to enhance both bee habitats and bee health. Participants also will learn to make snack recipes featuring honey. With increasing interest and awareness in the profound importance of nurturing a much larger bee population globally, the positive impact for both humanity and the planet will prove immeasurable.

Perhaps the biggest foreboding danger facing humans is the loss of the global honeybee population. The consequence of a dying bee population impacts us at the highest levels on our food chain, posing an enormously grave threat to human survival. More than 130 fruits and vegetables that make up a nutritious diet are cross-pollinated by honeybees.

Honeybees migrate to various regions of the country to pollinate an estimated $40 billion worth of the nation's agricultural produce each year. This means that every third bite of food we eat comes as the result of bees and other pollinators. In the past half decade alone, 30 percent of the national bee population has disappeared and nearly a third of all bee colonies in the United States have perished.

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Albert Einstein once prophetically remarked, "Mankind will not survive the honeybees' disappearance for more than five years."

Luark High Country Honey has been pollinating orchards on the Western Slope for more than 40 years. Ann Luark has been a part of the operation for the past 20 years. Caring for the 300 to 400 hives housing 20,000 to 90,000 inhabitants, pollinating, taking off, bottling and selling the honey are a few of her daily tasks on the ranch.

If you go …

What: The Science Behind Honeybees.

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14.

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center, 318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon.

Cost: $10 registration fee.

More information: Space is limited; visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/sb to register.