Our newest residents

Two hives of Russian honeybees joined the campus community over the summer, thanks in part to a gift from the Class of 1992 to support environmental initiatives. The hives are maintained by Joe Essid, director of the writing center, and Kirstin Berben, biology laboratories manager.


Reproduction is the primary job of queens and drones. Workers lead more varied lives:

  • Guards protect the hive.
  • Attendants nurse the queen and larvae and tend other hive needs (including undertakers that take out the dead).
  • Foragers can roam up to two miles. The oldest workers get this job since it’s dangerous — and they’re expendable.

Honeybees use the hexagons inside the honeycomb in three ways:

  • To house brood, or developing bees going through their egg and larval stages
  • To store pollen
  • To store nectar, which slowly becomes honey as the bees fan it with their wings

Honeybees need your help
Colony collapse is stressing honeybee populations, a serious concern because a third of the food humans eat comes from pollinators. If you care for a lawn, here are some simple steps you can take to help:

  • Reduce or eliminate herbicides and pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids. Check the product label if you’re unsure.
  • Use organic seeds that aren't pretreated with fungicides or other chemicals. 
Buy from your local nursery.
  • Let your yard go more natural, including with dandelion and clover that provide food during the tough late summer months. “If I had one magical power, it would be to eliminate the ideal of the perfect American lawn," Essid said.