PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Stand back, Pooh, the bears at Pikeville University have their eyes on honey.
UPIKE Science Programs research practical ways to enable students to approach their studies. One of these approaches involves bee boxes on the roof of the coal building.
The beehives, brought to campus in 2017 by Dr Tim Whittier, are student-held boxes that help with local pollination efforts, provide campus honey, and give students hands-on experience with this wing of the scientific world.
Students Hailey Cornett and Nicklaus Spangler spend their time dressing with the swarms, keeping them safe, and collecting honey.
“As we go up there and check out the bees, it just gives us more experience with these bugs and their behavior and how they work,” Spangler said.
The students said the unique blend of pollen provided by the flowers of downtown Pikeville gives the honey a small town sweetness, explaining that each beehive of honey has a different flavor unique to its geographic scope.
“And it’s a sticky mess, but it’s one of the best tasting honeys ever,” said Cornett.
The students extract the honey and bottle it before distributing it for free on campus. But, golden sugar aside, Spangler said the hives hide important lessons that are often overlooked.
“How all the worker bees are going to risk their lives just to save the queen because they know the queen either dies the whole hive or dies,” Spangler said. “But there’s no point killing them because they won’t do anything to you until you do nothing to them.”
The duo learn best by working with bees and they hope to pass the same on to others who may have a stinging idea of what bees are.
“Everyone still thinks these are negatives. They’re still against you, but really if we didn’t have beers we wouldn’t have food and we wouldn’t even be here, ”said Cornett.
The bees are also monitored by a bee camera, making sure the boxes are well maintained and the hives can thrive on the hill.
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