- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An assistant professor of biology at a college in Omaha has embarked on an experiment to add a honeybee hive to the campus in order to promote education and appreciation for bees.

Amanda Roe brought the hive and a box containing about 5,000 bees and a queen to the College of St. Mary this month to demonstrate bee behavior and assist in lessons about plants, flowers and pollination.

Scientists have paid attention for over a decade to the declining bee population evidently caused by pesticides and other factors, the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2oLZjeV ) reported. Roe said she’s more concerned about the declining wild bee population than the honeybee population because humans can raise honeybees to bolster their numbers.

College of St. Mary President, Sister Maryanne Stevens, said she approves the beehive and that students afraid of it should stay away from that area.

“They’re not going to go after you,” Stevens said of the bees. “They’re too busy doing their own work.”

Roe explained that the honeybees she brought in will bond with the queen and become a colony. The queen will lay hundreds and thousands of eggs while the worker bees clean the hive, feed the queen, store the honey and perform other tasks.

She said that some of the bees will go as far as 2 miles from the hive to collect pollen and nectar they’ll bring back for nutrition.

Roe, who teaches entomology, forensic science, and human anatomy and physiology, is hoping the hive will show that insects aren’t “gross and icky” creatures that need to be exterminated.

“Bees only sting when they feel threatened,” she said. “So let them fly around. Be calm. Be cool. Send them lots of love.”

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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