WATSON -- There promises to be plenty of buzz at Live Oak Middle this year.
The school officially unveiled its new indoor observational beehive during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 24.
The beehive is being housed in a glass shadow-box in the LOM library, which was buzzing with activity as eager students and their parents came in hopes of catching the worker bees in action.
They didn’t leave disappointed, as hundreds of the winged insects were busy carrying out their various duties for the hive, whether it was collecting pollen or carrying deceased bees out of the hive.
“That’s a lot of bees,” one boy said as he watched the bees squirm.
LOM Librarian Amanda Jones, who wrote the grant to acquire the beehive, said she got the idea from friend and former colleague Laura Foy. Foy, who cut the ribbon during the ceremony, challenged Jones to get a beehive for the LOM library after reading about it on the internet.
Jones didn’t need much convincing.
“I never back down from a dare,” she joked.
Apart from her friend’s challenge, Jones said she wanted the beehive after researching the many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities that could be completed using honeybees, the state’s official insect.
In preparation for the beehive installation, Jones said LOM students performed a variety of bee-related activities last school year. Math classes explored why bees love hexagons, science classes studied pollination and Skyped with bee experts, and ELA classes used research skills to gather information on bees to create their own informative bee videos.
Jones said the hive provides students an opportunity to observe the honeybee’s role in nature and agriculture. With the hive, students will be able to study nature “up close,” use critical thinking skills and scientific observations, and practice 21st century skills while studying real-world examples through STEM-related activities.
“We’ll be able to do a lot with this,” she said.
The beehive was funded by a grant from the Bee Cause Project and Whole Kids Foundation, while the bees were donated by LOM teacher Lisa Hanegan and her son, Michael, who also helped with the installation about six weeks ago.
Jones said it is one of only two in-school beehives in the state, and there’s a lot more bees in it than when they started.
“They multiply like crazy,” Jones said, adding that the hive has quadrupled in size since it was installed.
Bees enter and exit the beehive through a tube that goes from the hive through the library’s back wall to the outdoors. The area where the bees enter/exit is in an unused courtyard that will be blocked off from students, Jones said.
Though beehive will be covered during the day since bees “prefer to work in the dark,” it was open for everyone to see Monday.
Students spent most of the time searching out the queen bee, which earned the name “Beeyonce” after a contest on Facebook. That name — a nod to international R&B superstar Beyoncé Knowles — drew loud cheers from the students and parents at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“She moves quickly and is pretty fast,” Jones said of the queen bee, which is marked with a bright neon green dot. “But it’s pretty obvious when she comes out. She’s about twice the size of the others bees.”
Jones also revealed her growing collection of bee-related educational books during the ceremony, adding that this year’s theme for the library is “Bee a Good Reader.”