Honeybee hives will arrive at Blair campus this March
AP Environmental Science teacher Christopher Brown will be introducing honeybee hives to Blair. The bees will be used by STEM classes for study and the honey will be harvested.
The beehives will be constructed in March and most likely placed near the Blair campus wetlands which are located behind the baseball stadium. "The wetlands are far enough away from students to prevent bee stings and it is a more natural and comfortable ecosystem for the bees," Brown said.
This summer, the school was given permission to keep bees. Brown, whose father was a beekeeper and previously took Montgomery County Beekeeper Association courses, was excited for the new project. Most of the supplies have been ordered, including two beekeeping suits, a smoker to calm bees, tools for honey extraction, frames for honey collection in the hive and queen extractors. The bees were purchased from a breeder in Maryland and will arrive in March. "If we buy bees more local they already have adaptations to the area, whereas if they are from the south they may swarm and leave due to lack of certain adaptations," Brown said. The instillation of the bees will begin in the spring to maximize the survival of bees by allowing adequate acclimatization time. "The bees need time to collect pollen and nectar," Brown said, "If we were to start now they would not be situated to survive the winter."
Brown is hoping to incorporate student involvement into the project. There are currently two beekeeping suits, which would allow pairs to help tend to the bees, collect honey and check for disease outbreaks. Some science classes will also have an opportunity to view the bees and assist with the installation process.
STEM Academy leader John Haigh said, "We have many ideas for the bees. AP Environmental science classes can study sustainability and pollination, Biology students will be able to observe bees interesting behavior like for example how they secrete chemical messengers to communicate." There is also a possibility of getting Technology classes involved, by helping to construct the bee hives. "This March we plan on setting up the hive and equipment," Brown said. "It's all very exciting."
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