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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC students form un-bee-lievable new apiculture club

Jeff Lee, owner and beekeeper of Lee's Bees, removes a tray of bees from their hive.
Jeff Lee, owner and beekeeper of Lee's Bees, removes a tray of bees from their hive.

“Right now everything we are doing is in the early stages,” Coit said. “We don’t have any bees yet, but we sure hope to in the spring.”

The Carolina Beekeeping Club is recognized by the University.

Coit said she got the idea to form a beekeeping club after attending a summer program at Cornell University where she first began learning about bees.

“I went to a summer program at Cornell about conservation medicine and veterinary studies, and they incorporated a day about honey bees,” she said. “I found that they are very fascinating and are in dire need of our help.”

Coit herself had help from her friend and fellow bee-enthusiast, Brunton.

“Nissa is really obsessed with bees,” he said. “The first time I met her, we had an hour long conversation about them. She definitely tapped our friend group pretty heavily for people. There are a ton of biologists so we had some people interested in research.”

A member of the newly formed club, Brunton said he already had some ideas in the works for the future of beekeeping club, one of them being selling honey in the pit.

“I think it would be really cool to establish something that could carry on after the group of us who created it graduate,” he said.

Coit said it could provide an excellent fundraising opportunity for the club.

“The cool thing about honey bees is that they are really self-sustaining,” she said.“We can use what the bees produce to keep us running. We’re still thinking about fundraising opportunities, but eventually we plan to sell the honey we produce.”

She and a group of fellow students have been working with Catherine Lohmann, a professor in the biology department, to obtain a hive of bees and the means to care for it.

“Well my role was merely to encourage Nissa when she told me (what) she wanted to do,” Lohmann said. “I also have a strong interest in beekeeping for my animal behavior class.”

Lohmann said she plans to use any bees the club acquires for her research, but hopes the club will oversee all of the upkeep on the hives.

“What I’m hoping is that my basic role as a faculty adviser will just be to be in the background, but since I have a distinct interest in bees that I can be involved to provide educational activities,” she said.

Lohmann said she hopes to keep the bees in an observation lab in Wilson Hall, where she and students interested in independent studies could watch them.

While Lohmann said she is rather interested in animal behavior, and the communication between bees in particular, she has not seen the “Bee Movie.”

“I have not seen the ‘Bee Movie,’ but my opinion is anytime they make a movie about bees that’s a good thing,” she said.

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