What's The Buzz?

What's The Buzz?

By Sharon Rolenc

2016 may be the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese zodiac but, at St. Kate’s, it will go down in history as the year of the bee.

Bees are dying at an alarming rate — a whopping 70 percent of their population wiped out due to colony collapse disorder, in which masses of bees disappear from hives. Yet, bees pollinate 75 percent of the world’s crops. These include dozens of commonly consumed foods, including apples, cauliflower, green beans, cashews and walnuts. Even coffee and cocoa — imagine making it through finals without that triple latte or mocha!

When St. Kate’s BioClub learned these facts, the members knew they had to get into the bee business. (Incidentally, the Year of the Monkey is seen as a fortuitous time to start a new venture.)

The students connected with The Beez Kneez, a Minneapolis honey producer, to learn more about hosting a hive and soon, with club advisor Chris Palahniuk’s help, brought forth a proposal to University administrators to bring bees on campus.

In May, Beez Kneez owner Kristy Allen transported two hives — via bicycle — from her apiary to the roof of Fontbonne Hall. St. Kate’s is the first among the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities to host a hive.

The buzz attracted other student groups along the way, like the Food Justice Coalition, a longtime advocate of a campus community garden to provide another healthy, affordable food source for students. The idea of the bees’ role in food security immediately attracted Alexa Harnagel ’17, who leads the group. “What’s so exciting about this project is that we can actually make a difference,” she says.

Another exciting payoff? Honey!

St. Kate’s will have jars of honey uniquely flavored by our flowers if the hives thrive. They’ll carry the label: St. Catherine University/55105.

So move over monkey, the honeybee reigns this year. Just ask the queen…

Honey bees in a hive.

Honey bees in a hive.


Follow our bees on stkate.edu/bee-cam

Pauline Oo
MAOL Cert ’14, MBA '16

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