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Two honeybee hives to join MU’s campus

As the global population of honeybees declines, Sustain Mizzou’s newest project will bring two hives to campus.

Sustain Mizzou’s newest project will have parts of MU’s campus buzzing with activity.

Two honeybee hives will be unveiled to the public in either Eckles Butterfly Garden or Sanborn Field, most likely during Sustainability Week in April, said Sustain Mizzou Vice President of Projects Megan Tyminski.

The group partnered with Mizzou Botanic Garden, who paid for their hives and equipment, and Jefferson Farm and Gardens, who will be beekeeping mentors.

Tyminski hopes this project will clear up the common misconception that honeybees are dangerous without being provoked. To demystify this idea, Mizzou Botanic Garden will be paying for 25 students to attend a beginning one-time beekeeping class at Jefferson Farm and Gardens on March 12.

Tyminski said she hopes this project inspires people to care about the Columbia ecosystem and to live more sustainable lives. Sustain Mizzou Beekeeping chose to raise honeybees because they are the easiest to maintain.

“I don’t think students should just care about the bees, I think they should care about pollinators as a whole,” Tyminski said. “One out of every three bites of food is due to pollinators, and they’re really a keystone species to our ecosystem.”

Tyminski said she decided to join Sustain Mizzou last year in hopes of starting a beekeeping program.

“I came up with the idea when I was in high school and I came to Mizzou hoping to start the project,” Tyminski said. “During my first semester freshman year, I was running around campus trying to find organizations that would accept the project.”

Sustain Mizzou President Clare Bassi said the group “knew it could be a potential project” given the honeybee population decline.

Over 40 percent of honey bee colonies have experienced Colony Collapse Disorder, which is partially responsible for the population decline, according to the Honey Love Urban Beekeepers website.

According to the American Beekeeping Federation, bee pollination accounts for over $14 billion in crop production and many well-known crops would not exist without the work of bees. Without bees, people would not be able to enjoy fruits such as strawberries, apples, avocados and watermelon, as well as many vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers and broccoli.

“Their population is dwindling and they’re really important for Missouri’s agriculture,” Bassi said. A large portion of Missouri’s revenue comes from agriculture, she said.

Though Tyminski said “it’ll be an experiment at first,” she hopes to eventually expand the project.

“Instead of getting scared about it, I think we need to try to make a change and react,” Tyminski said. “It’s sad that we have to react because it has been happening and people haven’t been paying attention to the way we treat our environment, but it’s good that people are interested in bees right now and that they’re kind of a hot topic.”

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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Article comments

March 4, 2016 at 12:46 p.m.

Megan Tyminski: If you're interested in our project, check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1507542606235935/?ref=bookmarks or simply search "Sustain Mizzou Beekeeping" on Facebook! Also, feel free to email me with any questions: mrty9b@mail.missouri.edu.

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