The Joplin Area Beekeepers Association and the Pollinator Club at Missouri Southern State University will put on a one-day conference for area beekeepers and enthusiasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in the Billingsly Student Center ballroom.

The 2019 Four-States Bee Conference will feature five speakers, including Randy Oliver, of ScientificBeekeeping.com, who will discuss topics such as bee management techniques, pesticides, and resources or programs for pollinator habitat restoration.

The conference, in its inaugural year, is open to the public. It grew from a desire of some members of the beekeepers association to bring experts to the area to discuss the practice, said Don Beissel, a member of the association and a coordinator of the event.

The cost is $20 per person and includes lunch. Proceeds will support beekeeping in the Joplin area, including scholarships, school efforts in Exeter and Joplin, and outreach activities.

Beissel said he believes much of the interest in beekeeping stems from the well-publicized plight of bees around the world. Bee populations are declining rapidly; an annual nationwide survey by the Bee Informed Partnership found that 37.7% of honeybee colonies died this past winter, nearly 9 percentage points higher than the average winter loss, The Associated Press reported in July.

Researchers and environmentalists are working to figure out how to reverse that trend and mitigate effects on agriculture.

"(Beekeeping) certainly seems to be growing in this area," Beissel said. "We get a lot of interest when we do our outreach events."

Registration forms for the conference can be found at joplinareabeekeepers.com. Register by Wednesday to guarantee a lunch.

Attendees can also confirm their registration by emailing Katie Kilmer, assistant professor of biology and environmental health at MSSU, at kilmer-m@mssu.edu and paying at the door.

Emily Younker is the assistant metro editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.

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