Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 2017

Wishing All A Beautiful Christmas and Much Happiness in the New Year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wishing All of you a Delightful Thanksgiving!

We All Have so much to be thankful for!

HCBA Annual Christmas Party to be held on December 9th

Hello All you Wonderful Beekeepers!

Our Annual Christmas Party is right around the corner so I hope you have sent
your RSVP's to Cheryl.

It is always so much fun with a great meal, good bee and not bee talk and a super wonderful
raffle with proceeds going to Toy for Joy. 

We also do a Yankee Swap to end out the evenings fun, bring a wrapped gift,
 (one per attendee valued at $15)
and let the chaos insue, you never know what you may end up with!

Friday, December 9,2016
The Villa Rose
Ludlow, MA 01056

Monday, October 31, 2016

HCBA Novermber Meeting on the 10th

Please join us November 10th 7-9pm.

We will be having a bee related auction. 

So if you have any items that you no longer have use for please feel free to donate them.

As usual we will have some good bee talk, coffee and treats.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Our HCBA October meeting will be held on the 13th

Howdy Bee Keeps!

October 13th, Thursday at 7pm

Willimansett Heights Improvement League

118 Mount Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Fall is definately here in New England.

Time to get those hives ready for winter!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

HCBA Member has a traveling hat

Our wonderful member Tom Porter is traveling the world
taking along our newly designed HCBA hat!

Lucky Tom, lucky hat in Venice, Italy.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Club member is a traveling man!

Traveling Beekeeper is enjoying some of the beauty out in 

Thanks Mark!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September is National Honey Month!

Beekeepers be proud of your hardworking bees!

We add to the sweetness of the world.

How sweet it is! Since being established in 1989, September has been deemed National Honey Month here in the United States to promote beekeeping and the use of honey as a natural and very beneficial sweetener.
Artisanal honey is experiencing a renaissance, seducing chefs, foodies and cheese lovers to appreciate this ancient sweetener for all its culinary glories.
Once reserved exclusively for royals, honey was used to pay taxes during Julius Caesar's reign. Honey is made from the nectar of flowers by honeybees and beekeepers around the world who harvest thousands of varieties, each with a unique flavor profile determined by the type of plants visited by the honeybee. 
With more than 300 varietal honeys produced in the US, each with their own individual color, aroma and flavor profiles, there is no shortage of honeys to explore! Honeybees will travel up to four miles to gather nectar just to make honey!

Big E Photography Contest ~ Club Member wins ribbon!

Congratulations to club member Mark Lantzakis!

Mark was thrilled to be awarded a ribbon for creative arts with his honeybee photography.

Way to go Mark!

Monday, September 19, 2016

BIG E 2016 Honey Show Winners!

HCBA is proud to announce the winners of our honey contest

Best in Show Mike Koleczek

Our display at Farmarama

Light     1st         Mike Koleczek
              2nd        Jim Stefanik
              3rd        Tom Flebotte

Light     1st         Lee Duquette
Amber  2nd        Bill Romito
             3rd         Annette Isner

Amber  1st            Tom Flebotte       
              2nd      Dan Gleason
              3rd        Marilynn Zielinski

Dark     1st         Lee Duquette
Amber  2nd        Mark Lantzakis
             3rd         Mike Cavanaugh

Dark     1st         Mike Koleczek (Best in Show)
             2nd         Jessica Martin
             3rd         Sean Martin

Comb  1st         Lee Duquette
             2nd        Mike Koleczek
             3rd         Tom Flebotte

Chunk  1st        Mike Koleczek
             2nd     Zach Flebotte   
                 3rd       Tom Flebotte

Monday, September 12, 2016


HCBA is celebrating the event with new and beautiful additions!!

Our members have been hard at work making our booths even more interesting and educational!!

We will have a HONEY SHOW this year with guest Judge Mary Dwain.

Come and join the celebration!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Suffield CT Bee Trap

Andy and my first attempt at a bee trap out. Of course it had to be on Main Street!

Everyone has been super nice and supportive at saving the hive.

One large egress which we coned and a nice new home for them. 

At present, all seems to be going well. We hope to be there when the remainder of the tree is dropped.

More pictures to follow for sure!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

HCBA 2016 Big E Honey Contest

Hello Out there HCBA Beekeepers!

We are having a honey contest this year at the Big E.

The display will be at our space in the Farmarama Building.

Be thinking of which honey you think is prize worthy!

This will be fun.

Details will be available soon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

HCBA AUGUST 11th Meeting

Hear Ye!! Hear YE!!

Our next HCBA meeting will be held on August 11th  7-9pm

This is a big one guys so please show up with your dancing shoes on.

We will be packing our honey candy for the Big E and many
hands make light work.

We also invite any of you who would like to sell their beekeeping related items they no longer need or have created. Sort of a mini bee tag sale if you will.

Pizza and beverages for all!!

118 Mount Vernon road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Monday, July 18, 2016

Gearing up for the 2016 BIG E!


We are getting our ducks in a row as the 100th anniversary of the BIG E approaches.

So please visit our webpage and select your shift so we can dazzle the crowds 

with loads of bee loving poeple at our booths.

We are located at the Massachusetts Building and Farmarma.

All club members are welcome to sign up.

Friday, June 24, 2016

HCBA Annual Picnic July14th

Hello you beautiful bee people!

Well here we are again heading into summer and it is time
to gather and eat, drink and be merry.

Our Annual HCBA Picnic will be held on Thursday July 14th.

Starting at 6pm so we can enjoy the good summer weather.

Andy will be grillmaster and the club will provide grill, hamburgers, hotdogs, condiments and untensils.

You bring a chair and your favorite summer picnic specialty.
Last year we had a wonderful assortment of things to sample.

So come and enjoy the evening rain or shine. 
As always lots of bee talk!

WHIL 118 Mount Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Monday, June 20, 2016

National Pollinator Week

It is National Pollinator Week!

Bee Proud you are a beekeeper!

National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them
Nine years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.
The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that June 20-26, 2016 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership.

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 9th HCBA Meeting

Howdy Bee Peeps!

Our next HCBA meeting will be held on June 9th

7-9 pm 

The topic will be dealing with allergies.

Hope your hives are growing strong and non swarming!

WHIL, 118 Mount Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Friday, May 6, 2016

HCBA May 12th Meeting

Howdy All you wonderful bee interested people!

Our May 12th meeting is right around the corner.

7-9pm at WHIL, 118 Mount Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

The topic will be Hand Cream and discussion of wax products.

It's a beautiful thing!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fenway Park Bees!

So thrilled to see this at Fenway Park this weekend..

Not only did the Red Sox whomp the Yankees but the park just added

new bees to their roof top garden area!


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tom and Tom on their bee adventure to Georgia

We are so grateful for Tom Flebotte and Tom Porter for making the long journey

to Georgia to pick up those gorgeous packages of bees!

You guys are the best!!

HCBA 2016 Bee School Graduation

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Announcing our newest group of bee school graduates!!

What a great group of beekeepers they will bee!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

HCBA Celebrates Earth Day at Springfield Museum

What a great day we had representing HCBA and our bees.

It was a lovely event attended by a welcoming crowd.

Special thanks to club members and recent bee school graduates Tommy and Jane Stanziola.

They jumped right into making bee headbands and talking bee talk.

People love bees!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

HCBA April 21 Bee School Meeting

The April 21st Bee School Meeting will be here soon!

We will have two guest speakers.

Kim Skyrm, Ph.D.
Chief Apiary Inspector/Apiary Program Coordinator
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources


Mark Creighton, our Connecticut Bee Inspector

Also we will be having a discussion on beeswax products and first aid.

There will be a raffle for all 2016 students, with the grand prize being a beautiful hive and bees!

Make sure you get a seat for this fun fiilled meeting!

7-9pm WHIL , Chicopee, MA 01013

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Honey Recipe

Something delicious and a bit summery!

Sweet As Honey Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing by Beetrix Royale Fresh salad for a light lunch that can be beautifully packed in a mason jar. Add grilled chicken or fish for a complete meal on-the-go. Ingredients Dressing: 3 tablespoons - honey 3 tablespoons - balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon - Dijon mustard 1 clove - garlic 6 tablespoons - extra virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon - salt 1/4 teaspoon - ground pepper Salad: 1 cup - grape tomato, halved 2/3 cup - cucumber, cubed 4 ounces - grilled chicken breast, sliced 1/2 cup - jarred roasted red pepper, diced 2 cups - baby spinach, torn into bite sized pieces Directions Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and mix, or add ingredients to a bowl and use immersion blender to make dressing. Set aside. In two pint sized mason jars, build salad by adding the following into each jar in the following order: 1 ½ tablespoons honey mustard dressing, ½ cup grape tomato, 1/3 cup cucumber, 2 ounces grilled chicken, ¼ cup roasted pepper, 1 cup baby spinach. Close lid to jar and store up to 3 days. When ready to eat, unscrew lid, shake out all ingredients into a bowl and enjoy! Note: Store extra dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to one week. Yield: Makes 2 servings Nutritional Information per serving (Single Salad with Dressing) Calories: 240 Total Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 1.5g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 50 mg Sodium: 310 mg Total Carbohydrates: 17g Dietary Fiber: 4g Sugar: 10g Protein: 20g : % Daily Values* Vitamin A: 40% Vitamain C: 45% Calcium: 8% Iron: 15% : *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

HCBA April 7th Meeting

HCBA April 7th Meeting!

The topic will be Fall and Winter Management with our

guest speaker Jeff Rys

Extracting Honey with our guest speaker Bill Romito

Looking forward to seeing you all there 

and remember dandilions on our lawns are good bee food!

Willimansett Heights Improvement League, 118 Mount Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Planting for Bees

Here is a beautiful list of plantings for our delightful little foragers

Wanting to plant flowers, shrubs and trees that benefit local bee populations? This is your definitive guide of what to plant. Of course, do your research into these plants. You don’t want to accidentally plant something that’s incredibly invasive in your area, right?
Spring and Summer Bulbs
  • Purple flowering onions (Allium spp.)
  • Golden crocus (Crocus x luteus)
  • Bishop Series dahlias* (Dahlia)
  • Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
  • Grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)
  • Siberian squill (Scilla sibirica)

Perennials and Biennials
  • Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
  • Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta)
  • Cornflowers (Centaurea spp.)
  • Gas plant (Dictamnus albus)
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Globe thistles (Echinops spp.)
  • Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)
  • Blanketflowers (Gaillardia spp.)
  • Cranesbills (Geranium spp.)
  • Fall sedums (Hylotelephiumtelephium)
  • Knautia (Knautia macedonica)
  • Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica)
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
  • Meadow sage (Salvia nemorosa)
  • Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
  • Fall asters (Symphyotricum spp.)

  • Cosmos (Cosmos spp.)
  • California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Sunflower* (Helianthus annuus)
  • Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)
  • Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)
  • Breadseed poppy (Papaver somniferum)
  • Portulaca* (Portulaca spp.)
  • Blue anise sage (Salvia guaranitica)
  • Profusion and common zinnias* (Zinnia spp.)

  • Chives and onions (Allium spp.)
  • Borage (Borago officinalis)
  • Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Mints (Mentha spp.)
  • Catmints (Nepeta spp.)
  • Creganos (Origanum spp.)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Thyme (Thymus spp.)

  • Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
  • Blue mist bush (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
  • Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
  • Winter heath (Erica carnea)
  • Lavenders (Lavandula spp.)
  • Sumacs (Rhus spp.)
  • Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

  • Maples (Acer spp.)
  • Alders (Alnus spp.)
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Hazels (Corylus spp.)
  • Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • Fruit trees, especially apple, plum, and cherry (Malus and Prunus spp.)
  • Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Willows (Salix spp.)
  • Basswood/linden (Tilia spp.)

  • Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare)
  • Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Clovers (Trifolium and Melilotus spp.)
 Thanks Russ!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

Have a beautiful Easter and enjoy seeing those dear bees bringing in lots of pollen!

Monday, March 21, 2016

HCBA March 24th Bee School Meeting

Hi There Bee Lovers

HCBA March 24th Bee School Meeting  7-9pm

Ken Warchol will be our guest speaker and the topic-

Challenges of Beekeeping

What a perfect egg for this spring season.

Hope your hives are filled with them!

WHIL, 118 Mount Vernon Road, Chicopee MA 10013

Friday, March 18, 2016

Honey Nut Cheerios Buzz the Bee Mascot Goes Missing!

In an effort to raise awareness of the decline in pollinator populations, General Mills in Canada has launched an integrated marketing campaign revolving around finding a solution to unstable bee populations. 

To draw attention to the cause, General Mills has temporarily removed Buzz the Bee from Honey Nut Cheerios packaging. In an Adweek Magazine article, Emma Eriksson, director of Marketing for General Mills Canada, said "This is the first time in the brand's history that we've taken 'Buzz' off the box, One-third of the foods we depend on for our survival are made possible by the natural pollination work that bees provide. With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers—one for every person in Canada."

The campaign includes free packets of wildflower seeds, contests, free product samples, a special website - - and new television ads.

As of this writing, there is no word on whether The Big G is going to extend the campaign into the United States.

Similarly, there is no word on whether General Mills is going to mention the role pesticides and GMOs have in honeybee endangerment.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Controversy Over MDAR's Proposed Pollinator Protection Plan

In an article published on March 11 2016, the Boston Globe said that Massachusetts beekeepers has "enraged beekeepers, who say the state has ignored their plan to address the problems and underestimated the threat pesticides present to bees."

The plan, which is in it's draft form right now, calls for some changes in the state's apiary inspection program, voluntary training in safer use of pesticides by farmers, and some additional regulation from the state which would be used to help track and research bee deaths.

You can download a draft copy of the Pollinator Protection Plan by clicking on this link. I encourage you to do so, and to carefully read the proposal, because the Globe's articles raises some valid questions as well as making a couple points that I just can not seem to find in the document when I read it.

For example, the article says that the Plan "strips beekeepers of their ability to teach others their craft, instead placing the responsibility with state officials." I can't find anything about that in the Plan. Rather, it explicitly says:
  • Attend a bee school and/or work with a mentor to learn about beekeeping practices. Currently, there are opportunities for classroom instruction, field training, and mentoring provided by knowledgeable beekeepers to members of county beekeeping associations. 
  • Work within the local beekeeping community to encourage queen rearing using northern adapted bees, in order to increase vitality and genetics. 
It seems to me that the language as written in the draft is specifically asking aspiring beekeepers to do what they are doing now: Find a club or association, take a beekeeping class from them, and join the associations to take advantage of the resources that club members make available.

The Globe's article also says that the Plan "also imposes 'unfair regulation' and 'unrealistic policies' on beekeepers, preventing them from being able to manage their bees successfully." Here again, what I am finding in the document itself doesn't seem to be that onerous:

  • Register the location of hives with MDAR, so that they can be included on a hive map, used for contacting beekeepers in times of health concerns as well as a resource that pesticide applicators can use to mitigate pesticide exposure. 
  • Work with Mosquito Control Projects to be included on "No Spray" lists. Ensure that hives are visible to users/applicators by using marking flags and/or paints. 
  • Only use pesticides currently registered for hive use, and use them according to label instructions. Obtain a pesticide applicator license for material classified for Section 18/Emergency Exemption Use or Restricted Use. 
  • In the case of "Bee Kills" where pesticide use is suspected, report to MDAR promptly for investigation. 
  • If needed, request an annual inspection from MDAR to evaluate hive health. 
  • Participate in state and national surveys related to hive helath, so that the status of Massachusetts honey bees can be documented.
Most of these items, it seems to me, are things that beekeepers are doing anyway, although that part about the pesticides is probably quite irritating for beekeepers who are successfully using oxalic acid vaporizers to treat varroa mites (oxalic acid is not currently approved in Massachusetts - or Connecticut either, for that matter, so those of us using it against mites in our hives are operating in a grey area here.)


What I do find bothersome, though, is the way that pesticide applicators and land managers are given practically free rein to continue doing what they're doing, with only a gentle nudge of a suggestion here and there, rather than stricter limitations or an outright ban on pesticides that have been shown to be damaging to all pollinator populations, not just honeybees. Yes, it calls for obtaining proper licensure from MDAR prior to applying pesticides, but isn't a license already required for that? And this wording just doesn't seem strong enough to me:

  • Seek training to learn about the biology, life history, husbandry, and best management practices (BMPs) of managed bee pollinators, in order to better understand methods that avoid non-target impacts.
  • Use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to pest control, by utilizing economic thresholds for determining actions. If pesticides are required, seek products that have low toxicity, short residual toxicity, and properties that are repellent to bees.
  • When possible, apply aproducts when managed bee pollinators are less actively foraging (i.e. at night) and when crops attractive to bees for floral resources are not in bloom. Apply pesticides in a manner that they do not drift off target. Do not make applications in areas adjacent to pollinator habitat when the wind is blowing in the direction of hives.

I don't see any strong language there, just "seek," and "when possible." Where are the limitations? Where are the bans on pesticides that have actually been shown to be harmful to pollinators? Why is there no mention of pesticides that become systemic to the plant and which shouldn't be allowed in any quantity?

Although reading the Boston Globe article makes it seem as though nothing we can say or do will change the draft proposal, there is still time to make your voice heard. There will be a public hearing about the proposal right here in our own back yard on Wednesday, March 23rd at the MDAR office in the Slobody Building, 101 University Drive, Amherst MA from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

You can also send comments to Kim Skyrm, the Chief Apiary Inspector at Read the Plan and however you feel about it, make your voice heard!

The comments section is open if anyone would care to discuss the Boston Globe article or my interpretation of it.

Views expressed in this article are my own and not necessarily those of the Hampden County Beekeepers Association.

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Follow us on Twitter: @HCBees.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

HCBA March 10th bee school meeting

Hello fellow bee lovers

March 10th Bee School Meeting 

Our speakers will be Billy Crawford (professional beekeeper)

the topic is Spring and Summer Management


Jeff Rys 

with the topic Bears and other Invaders (always a fun one)

Be there for a 7pm start up please.

Willimanset Heights Improvement League, 118 Mt.Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Beekeeping Gear

Now is the time to check your beekeeping gear for the season.

Make certain you have all your boxes and frames ready to go

Paint, Paint.Paint

Wire, Wire, Wire

Get a move on folks!

Friday, February 26, 2016

HCBA February 25th Meeting Presentations Download

Our meeting was very well attended and as always entertaining!

Here are the downloads as promised. Enjoy!



White House Bee hive

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Things I like to see in February

Somedays a February Day can delight  you!

Spring will be here before we know it, get your bee gear in order.

Thanks again Mark!

HCBA February25th Bee School Meeting

Hello Beekeepers!

Our February 25th Bee School Meeting is right around the corner.

Andy Preissner will be our speaker for the evening 
with the subjects being Swarms and Queens and
Dynamics of the Hive.

Please plan on arriving early as we do like to get started promptly at 7pm.

If you feel so inclined, bring a delicious treat to share with your fellow keeps!

See you in a few.
WHIL, 118 Mt Vernon Road, Chicopee, MA 01013

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wishing you all a Beeutiful Valentines Day!

Love is in the Air
and soon so will our bees!

Wishing you all the sweetest Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

An interesting Article on Bee Deaths

There's a new clue about what's killing honeybees around the world

Bees are at risk from a deadly virus spread by the Varroa mite.
One question that has had scientists buzzing in recent years is, "What is killing the bees?" Many reports have documented the mysterious decline in honeybee populations around the world, with research focusing on possible causes including parasites, a type of pesticide called neonicotinoids, and other factors. Now, research out of the University of Exeter in the UK and the University of California, Berkeley, reveals another explanation: the spread of a viral disease, inadvertently helped along by humans.
The study, published in the journal Science, found that European honeybees are the main source of Deformed Wing Virus, which has spread through bee hives around the world. The researchers determined that the spread of this insect pandemic is largely fueled by human trade and transportation of bees.

How does it spread? The Varroa mite carries the disease, feeding on bee larvae, then the virus itself kills off the bees.
The study's lead author, Dr. Lena Wilfert, of the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation, said they found evidence that human involvement has played a key role in the epidemic.
"If the spread was naturally occurring, we would expect to see transmission between countries that are close to each other, but we found that, for example, the New Zealand virus population originated in Europe. This significantly strengthens the theory that human transportation of bees is responsible for the spread of this devastating disease," she said in a press statement.

The research team examined sequence data of the virus samples collected from around the world from bees and the mites that carry the virus. They used this data to construct a path of how the virus spread, determining that it traveled from Europe to North America, Australia, and New Zealand. There was no movement between Asia and Australia, but there was some back-and-forth between Europe and Asia. While they examined other species of bees, they determined that the European honeybee was the main culprit for the virus's spread.
"We must now maintain strict limits on the movement of bees, whether they are known to carry Varroa or not. It's also really important that beekeepers at all levels take steps to control Varroa in their hives, as this viral disease can also affect wild pollinators," Wilfert said.
Scientists are concerned about the impact these mass bee deaths could have, not just on biodiversity, but on human health and global agriculture.
"Domesticated honeybee colonies are hugely important for our agriculture systems, but this study shows the risks of moving animals and plants around the world," co-author Roger Butlin, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Sheffield, said. "The consequences can be devastating, both for domestic animals and for wildlife. The risk of introducing viruses or other pathogens is just one of many potential dangers."