Bee Club Forms at Northwest

Pat Ward, staff advisor of the newly formed Bee Club, discusses ways various bee species protect themselves against varroa mites during the Student Organization Fair Wednesday, Feb. 6. Ward is also Northwest’s arboretum director.

Northwest welcomed a new student organization that aims to educate students and raise awareness about bees.

Freshman Abigail Rosonke is the president of beekeeping club, and she initially brought the club to campus. The purpose of this club is to teach people about bees and the importance of bees in general.

Rosonke said she gained interest in bees when her former roommate showed her what beekeeping was like. Shortly after her roommate transferred from Northwest, she decided to create her own club.

Beekeeping club adviser Pat Ward said he has had a lot of experience with bees and is excited about what the club might bring to the Northwest campus.

“(Beekeeping club) will number one be educational because bees are so important to our environment,” Ward said. “The life cycle of the bee is so amazing, and you get to watch every stage of it.”

The club has already ordered four packages of bees. Each package holds between three and four pounds of bees, which equates to about 4,000 bees per package. There is one queen bee per package and each one of the queen bees will lay about 2,000 eggs per day. By the middle of this summer, there is projected to be about 60,000 bees total.

“We are going to have some hives out on the farm where (the agriculture department) will be growing alfalfa and other good pollinator plants,” Ward said. “We’re also planning on putting some hives closer to campus.”

Another hive will go behind the greenhouse. The bees will be close enough to campus where students can see and learn about them, but far enough away to prevent problems with the bees.

“We are aiming to generate excitement about bees in general, but we also want people to have the opportunity to actually get in the hive and learn more about bees on that level,” Rosonke said.

The beekeeping club provides activities for people who are allergic or uncomfortable with the thought of live bees. There will be protective suits for students to wear while in contact with the bees. The beekeeping club has three suits and plans on ordering more as soon as they know what their budget will be.

Beekeeping club is working on a few other projects other than getting bees on campus.

“Along with the bees, we want to put in some pollinator plots; these are plants that are attractive to bees on campus,” Ward said. “Our goal is to cut the chemical uses on campus and to increase areas that are no-mow zones where we can have some different flowering plants that will flower at different times of the year.”

There is an opportunity for an observation hive as well. The observation hive can be located inside a building. The beekeeping club is not positive when this will happen or where they will put it, but they are looking into placing one somewhere on campus for people to observe and learn from.

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