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CSU buzzing for new pollinator project additions off Centre Avenue

Sponsored by the Associated Students of Colorado State University and partnered with the horticulture department, the CSU Apiculture Club built four new beehives that will welcome new honey bees May 11.

The funding for these new hives was proposed by the Apiculture Club last fall. A total of $5,147 was placed on the project. This amount covered all transport costs, set up and supplies. There are six packages of European honey bees being brought to campus according to SOURCE.

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Said to be 5,000 bees and a single queen in each box, these bees and their hives will be located off Centre Avenue.

“This new location is going to be more of an education space,” said Freddie Haberecht, Apiculture Club president. “We’re going to have good plants for native pollinators as well as honey bees, and then we’re having some… space for people to walk around and learn with more hives.”

Mark Uchanski, horticulture and landscape architecture associate professor at CSU, wrote in an email to The Collegian that the new location offers space that is far enough from people but still near campus. To house the bees, the location had to have certain attributes. The hives shouldn’t be too isolated and should still be accessible so students could take part in this educational outreach.

“If we want to make a difference with pollinators, we have to educate people about pollinators. A great way to do that is by having bee hives.” – Freddie Haberecht, president of CSU Apiculture Club

“With the construction of the relatively new Horticulture Center (late 2015) and accompanying outdoor research and educational spaces, we had perfect match of location and accessibility,” Uchanski wrote. “Around the same time, the pedestrian underpass at Prospect and Centre was installed, making it easily walkable and safe for most students without needing a car.”

Not only will these bees produce honey and pollinate the gardens, but they will also provide a welcoming space to native Colorado bee species. The hives create a learning experience for beekeeping and the importance of bees.

“Bees are a really crucial part of the ecosystem,” Haberecht said. “We have all these native bees interacting with plants and they’re declining in numbers. … (Bees) have really suffered from that urban encroachment. We want to promote this holistic idea of the urban environment, the urban ecosystem and make that healthy … and part of that is having bees.”

CSU is a bee-certified campus, and this certification helps with its environmental and sustainability efforts. By bringing more hives to campus, bees will be able to pollinate community gardens and produce honey for the dining halls, rather than buying honey from an outside source.

“The hives are an asset to CSU since they can serve as pollinators for the new ‘Everybody Eats Gardens’ at Student Education Gardens,” Uchanski wrote. “So, if the students are growing tomatoes, squashes or watermelons, the bees will be there to help pollinate them so they produce fruits. They will be part of the garden system.”

According to SOURCE, the population within the beehive will grow anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000. Depending on the health of the hive, the growth could surpass the estimated 25,000 this summer. If everything goes as planned, bees will be able to expand beyond their original garden.

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“If we want to make a difference with pollinators, we have to educate people about pollinators,” Haberecht said. “A great way to do that is by having beehives.”

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_

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