New UF Bee Club Abuzz With Activity

(From the University of Findlay)

University of Findlay is now home to approximately 100,000 bees and a new bee club called The Hive. Two UF students, D’alan Seyer and Jillella Weingart, founded the club and donated half of their own personal bee collection to the University.

The pair shared a natural interest in agriculture and the production of products and through a bee class found a passion for bees. “We went to a small class in Celina to learn about beekeeping and we fell in love with it,” said Seyer. “I’m excited to be able to share it with others and I hope The Hive lasts for a long time on campus,” added Weingart.

The Hive was approved as a new club on campus, with Seyer and Weingart serving as the club president and vice president respectively. The first informational meeting was held to gauge interest on campus and the attendance was unexpected. “We were all really surprised with the amount of interest,” said Lauren Sandhu, M.S., instructor of teaching in Biology and faculty adviser to The Hive. “After ensuring that it was ok to have bee boxes on campus, we held the meeting and nearly 40 students expressed interest in joining The Hive.”

To start, two hives (50,000 bees per hive) were placed on campus to help with pollination. With the help and support of Ben Taylor, assistant vice president of facilities services, one of the boxes was placed near the Hoop House, where students work to plant and grow various types of plants and produce throughout the year. The second box was placed near the greenhouse. Seyer and Weingart said they would love to see the number of hives grow from two to six (300,000 bees) but want to do so in a controlled and planned manner.

With bees now on campus, the goal is to get students involved. “It’s a really unique, hands-on opportunity. The educational aspect of this is limitless,” said Sandhu. “We can talk about native plants, native bees, honeybees, honey products, attracting pollinators, and bee research.” Sandhu said some students have already expressed interest in doing research on the honeybees and the parasite varroa mites, which has been linked to dwindling honeybee numbers.

The Hive is a student organization, has no membership fees or dues, and does not require equipment. “You don’t have to be a beekeeper to be part of The Hive. You can come to learn about bees and ecology, join us on nature hikes, and learn more about production,” said Seyer. The group has attracted the attention of other area bee clubs not associated with the University of Findlay, relationships Seyer and Weingart hope to expand upon to create learning opportunities for community members.

When asked about an end goal with the bees on campus, Seyer and Weingart say they would like to continue to work with the University of Findlay and the city to become a “bee affiliate” campus and city. To reach that goal, the University and city would need to increase the abundance of native plants, provide pollinator-friendly habitats, and provide educational outreach to the local community.