Bellefonte

Bellefonte recognized as bee friendly

Bellefonte borough has been designated as the first Bee Friendly PA Community in the commonwealth.
Bellefonte borough has been designated as the first Bee Friendly PA Community in the commonwealth. Centre Daily Times, file

There’s a buzz in Bellefonte.

The borough has been designated as the first Bee Friendly PA Community in the commonwealth.

The Bee Friendly PA program is a new initiative from the Pennsylvania State Beekeeping Association, said Josephine Posti, Bee Friendly PA chairwoman.

The idea is to recognize municipalities that are supportive of local beekeepers, she said.

Municipalities are considered for the designation based on efforts to support honeybees and beekeepers through legislation, education, community support, pest management and pollinator-friendly green space, Posti said.

Peter O’Donnell said he’s fairly new to beekeeping. He started in 2014.

“I’ve always been interested in them, and they’re an amazing insect,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell, who lives “smack dab” in the borough on Bishop Street, is a hobbyist. He said he has nine beehives in his backyard apiary.

The borough recently changed an ordinance that already permitted beekeeping to also allow selling bee products, he said.

O’Donnell — the psychology director at HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital — entered the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair this summer. He won first place in three categories — best amber honey, best honey product presentation and best bee’s wax.

He and a few other local beekeepers gave a presentation to the borough about the Bee Friendly PA program, encouraging them to apply for the designation.

Don Holderman, assistant borough manager, said Bellefonte is proud to support beekeeping.

Pollination is critical to food supply and biodiversity, he said.

The borough works closely with the Bellefonte Garden Club, which established an edible garden in Talleyrand Park, Holderman said. The club also plans to open a pollinator garden in the park in 2017.

In addition, Holderman said the borough has a policy of not using chemicals on borough-owned property.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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