Boston University’s Beekeeping Club received a new shipment of Italian Honey Bees in March, two years after a mite infestation killed its previous hive.
Next year’s Beekeeping Club president, Priscilla Bright, said the club had to abandon the hive in 2020 due to the University’s COVID-19 restrictions — it went into lockdown in March 2020 and did not return to in-person teaching until the fall of 2021.
“We didn’t really have anybody who could check on the bees as much as we’d like to because we were all on lockdown. And they actually got a mite infestation that killed them. So it was very, very sad,” said Bright, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.
In its hive located next to the DeWolfe Boathouse in Cambridge, the club previously housed Leafcutting bees. These bees, however, only produce enough honey to sustain themselves.
Rebecca Hyatt, current president of the club, said their goal with the Italian Honey Bees is to harvest some honey.
“This year when I became president, it was a really big goal of mine for us to get honey bees as soon as possible,” said Hyatt, a senior in CAS.
Hyatt said it was hard to kickstart things this year after a yearlong break during the last school year.
“It also made it really hard to get the club up and running again once things with COVID became a little bit more manageable. It was tough to have enough people in Boston who would be able to take care of the things year-round,” she said.
Bright said some members of the club will be staying in Boston during the summer to check up on the bees periodically to avoid any swarming or diseases.
CAS senior Olivia Zhou served as Hivemaster this year — a position in the club whose responsibilities include hands-on bee care. Zhou said the bees are a lot more gentle than expected.
“I think they’re a really good type of bee to have for our clubs since we do have members coming to visit the hive when we do our inspections,” Zhou said. “It’s nice to have really gentle bees that like the club members can interact with without being concerned about getting stung.”
Hyatt is also hopeful that the bees will produce honey in the future.
“Our ultimate goal with our current bees, which seems to be doing pretty well, would be to harvest some of that honey and probably give it out to our club members and family and friends,” she said.