Lab begins keeping bees

Staff Writer

The University of Chicago Laboratory School science department recently brought a honey beehive to campus. The school will use the beehive for observation and academic purposes.

After kicking around the idea of bringing beehives to the The University of Chicago Laboratory School (Lab School), 1362 E. 59th St., Lab High School science teacher Daniel Calleri and 5th grade Lab Middle School teacher Jeffery Maharry did the research on how to safely and effectively start one at the school.

The colonies arrived on May 20 and were moved to two Langstroth hives that are located at the rear of the school garden between Lillie and Wilder houses and are fenced and locked for the protection of the bees.

One of the main projects that science classes in Lab High School will investigate is colony collapse disorder.

“There has been a world-wide honey bees crisis where colonies have failed because they abandon their hives and die,” said Maharry, who said bees and honey production is an important part of the food chain. “Scientists have been trying to figure out why this is happening.”

The students will also be experimenting with different hive types and extracting honey.

Maharry said that he and Calleri are hoping that teachers from all grades and teaching disciplines make use of the hives and that some have already started.

The 5th graders in Lab Middle School are studying pollination and have observed how bees collect pollen from flowers. The first grade class in Lab Lower School studied bee hierarchy by learning about the roles that bees play in the hive and acting those roles out.

Maharry is setting up a website that will include a camera that will capture hive activity. The school has not decided what it will do with the honey that will be collected.