By Madalyn Gardas
Can you hear the buzz on campus? No, literally, the buzz! Take a walk by the greenhouse and you will know what we are talking about.
Many of you may have noticed the beehives, or apiary as it is technically called, behind Barstow Hall. Dr. Burkett, the professor teaching the campus community about bees, had the idea to raise them on campus when funding and interest dried up for his coral reef research program.
Dr. Burkett previously studied bees as a graduate student and wanted to bring them to campus. The bees brought to campus are Italian Honeybees, and are the gentlest type of honeybee. They still have the ability to sting, however they will die after stinging once, unlike wasps and hornets, which can sting you multiple times.
While the project is still in its infancy stage, Dr. B and his Bee Team have a goal to make the apiary sustainable. Burkett said that 50 percent of all honeybees in the world are dying every year because of the spraying of herbicides and pesticides on crops. According to Burkett, people should consider this an alarming loss of bees since they pollinate 30 percent of the food we eat.
All honeybees in the United States are considered an exotic species because they were imported during the colonization of the United States. They are also considered livestock because they need to be monitored for illnesses and diseases to ensure they don’t spread to any of the other hives.
Any student who is interested can take the course; you do not have to have a prerequisite although Burkett’s permission is needed. Only nine students can be in the apiary at a time, however the class size ranges from 15 to 20 students.
Although the apiary is on campus, Burkett would like to eventually open up the class to the surrounding community as well. He wants to teach the importance of honeybees and the impact they have on the community as well as the world.