Q: What do you call a bee that can’t make up its mind? A: A may-bee. The Westminster Common Council, though, will soon be making up its mind on the question of whether to become a “Bee City.”
The Carroll County Beekeeper’s Association made a presentation to the council at its Sept. 28 meeting. Becoming a Bee City establishes a standing Bee City USA committee to advocate for pollinators, and the city would then be expected to “create and enhance pollinator habitat on public and private land by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides,” according to the presentation.
In order to maintain the Bee City status, a committee evaluates whether appropriate habits are being maintained, in which case the certification would be renewed for a year.
“Becoming a Bee City fits right in with our longstanding Tree City status, our legacy park approaches to the old golf course at Wakefield Valley, and our other environmentally friendly approaches to bee-ing good stewards of our community, including our interest in becoming a certified Sustainable Maryland Community,” Westminster council member Kevin Dayhoff said in an interview. “We’re excited about the possibilities.”
Council member Ann Gilbert said the council will be voting on Westminster becoming a Bee City at the next council meeting, on Oct. 12.
Gilbert is in favor of this new initiative. “We want to work on becoming a sustainable Maryland community, and being a Bee City will fit in with that,” she said in an interview.
Jeff Glass, Westminster’s public works director, has been a beekeeper for eight years and currently has three hives, he said in an interview. He decided not to sell the natural honey his bees produce, but he gives it away to people he feels are deserving of it.
Glass got into beekeeping from seeing a bulletin at Carroll Community College for the class. He and his daughter joined out of curiosity. “It is amazing the importance bees have in the whole food supply chain,” he said.
Glass finds the Bee City initiative “cool,” and said he’s glad it is something the city wants to see through.
Other Maryland jurisdictions that currently have Bee City status include Annapolis, Berlin, Highland Beach and Salisbury, as well as Anne Arundel and Howard counties.
Gilbert believes this is important to this city because it is centralized and has a large farming community.
“We need to support our farmers and a lot of our businesses that run on the environment,” Gilbert said. “We need to think about our future and our future on Earth. Moving to proactive measures to make sure our community is taken care of.”
Gilbert also said she’s looking forward for the opportunity of local kids being able to get volunteer hours with the Bee City organization.
“Since agriculture is such an important part of our Carroll County history — we understand the importance of bees. Besides, I like to eat,” Dayhoff said, citing a bit of information from the presentation: Every one in three bites of food that we eat is courtesy of insect pollination.