Windsor Hornets build, donate beehive

Published 10:25 pm Friday, May 11, 2018

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During Windsor Elementary School’s first and fifth grade spring expo on Wednesday, Pamela Hall and Christine Byrum’s first grade classes donated a working beehive they had constructed to Windsor High School’s agricultural land lab, located behind Windsor Elementary.

The dedication ceremony for the hive was held at 6:45 p.m. in the school’s center courtyard. Accepting the hive on behalf of Isle of Wight County Schools’ agriculture students was Daniel Judkins, Windsor High School’s farm manager.

One fifth grade class at Windsor Elementary built a “bee hotel” and planted a bee-friendly garden outside the school.

According to a brochure the students handed out during the expo, the project started at the beginning of the school year with a nature walk. About a month later, Hodgie Holgerson of the Tidewater Beekeepers Association came to Windsor Elementary to teach the classes about bees. This was followed by a field trip to a bee farm, where the students got to wear beekeeper suits and see live bees. Windsor Elementary second grader Haylee Rife, who keeps bees with her mother, also demonstrated some of the equipment beekeepers use.

A parent volunteer then taught the students how to build their own beehive, allowing each student to create a portion of the hive that was donated. The hive was sponsored by Byrum Farms.

Hall added that prior to beginning the bee curriculum, she and Byrum checked with Windsor Elementary’s school nurse and Isle of Wight County Schools’ student health department head, Betty Entsminger, to address any allergy concerns. The completed hive will be located far away from the school building to further minimize the risk to current and future students.

The students also did research on factors that can decrease bee populations, such as the use of chemical pesticides and the presence of wax moths, which tear up bee honeycombs. To help restore bee populations, the students suggest using non-chemical pesticides, making hives, keeping the hives clean to keep wax moths and mites away from the honey, limiting the honey you take from a hive and planting flower gardens to attract bees.

Fifth grade students at Windsor Elementary also participated in bee-related projects. Students in Judy Stull’s and Elizabeth Littlefield’s classes built solitary bee habitats, a “bee hotel” and planted bee-friendly gardens outside the school.