New Bee Colonies Bring Multiple Research Possibilities

May. 24, 2017 - by Carol Best

A big addition to the wildlife that biology students will study, arrived on campus last week. Thanks to the generous donation of Brent (FS ’85) and Lynette (Hight, FS ’84) Barkman of Barkman Honey, two colonies of bees (120,000) now make MNU their home.

BarkmanBees-12

Delivered in the twilight hours last Friday night, the bees were calmed by smoke pots handled by Brent.

“They’re flying around acclimating themselves to their new surroundings,” Barkman told MNU’s Roger Alexander, director of development, who was there to assist, along with biology professor Rion Taylor. “They’re setting their GPS’s.”

BarkmanBees-4

Taylor plans to teach apiculture (care and maintenance of honeybees) to students in the Science Club as well as use the bees for individual student projects. Potential research students could conduct includes projects in broad topics such as parasite control, colony collapse disorder and antimicrobial properties of honey. Taylor says exploration of topics related to the bees can be used in as many as seven of MNU’s biology courses.

Barkman BeeRoger Alexander, Brent Barkman, Rion Taylor in front of MNU Science building Osborne Hall.

Donating the bee colony will serve as more than a gift to the Barkman’s alma mater. The gift is well in line with their mission to protect honeybees through bee and environmental research as well as sustainable farming practices. Barkman also supports habitat preservation, beekeeper recruitment and consumer education about the value of bee pollination and the plight of the honeybee. Honeybee colony decline is a worldwide concern due to the use of pesticides and the important role bees play in the ecosystem. 

 

 

 

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