News from the Hive: The Bees Arrived!
Students clustered around the transport boxes filled with approximately 30,000 buzzing bees that had just been delivered to campus. Before installing the bees in the hives built for them by the previous Projects class, master beekeeper and Associate Dean of Student Affairs Dennis Macheska and CIA Professor Dr. Maureen Costura donned white beekeeping suits and veiled hats for protection. We all stepped back a few paces as the bees were sprayed with a simple syrup solution to encourage them to calmly eat while the transfer process took place. Mr. Macheska explained that the bees were tranquil this time of year as they had nothing to “protect.” In the fall, when bees have a hive full of honey, pollen, and babies, they would become more aggressive and he suggested that using smoke to calm the bees then was warranted.
We watched as he opened the first box of bees, installed the queen bee—who had been separated from the others—and filled the hive with thousands of her “followers.” Mr. Macheska shared countless bits of information that helped us understand how the bees interact with one another and what their actual jobs are within the hive. From the Queen to the nursing bees and from foraging bees to the undertaker bee who disposes of any dead bees, all have specific roles keeping the hive healthy and clean.
The apiary we started months ago is really coming to fruition. Soon the pollinator plants will bloom, making this a perfect environment for our bees to thrive in. We are excited to watch as the bees acclimate to their new home and grow in population to upwards of 200,000 bees! We anticipate about 120 pounds of honey from them this year that we can use in CIA kitchen classrooms and restaurants. Sweet!
Join Professor Dr. Costura as she takes you on a tour of the new apiary, situated at the Hyde Park campus: