The Biddeford campus has been in a buzz lately – literally! The source of all this commotion has been coming from a seemingly obscure hillside shaded by trees and blocked by green, bushy, native vegetation where small towers of stacked gray boxes stand tall. Make no mistake though: these gray towers house the hordes of insects that are UNE’s beehives.
The Honeybee Conservation Club started these hives in 2016. They have been diligently tended by the Assistant Director of Sustainability, Alethea Cariddi, and her summer Sustainability Interns, and the UNE Honeybee Club since their arrival to campus. Annually they face varying levels of success due to numerous factors, like winter weather, swarming tendency, parasites, and more. This summer the hives have gone gangbusters!
This past winter one of the hives successfully overwintered, a feat that can be difficult to pull off in Maine’s climate. With an additional package of bees purchased through The Honey Exchange, the two hives began the 2022 summer season strong. The increase in bee population, an increase of native plants on campus, and lots of attention by the Sustainability Intern, has caused a plethora of sweet results. We have seen throngs of the pollinators out and about around their hives throughout the day, and this summer has yielded the earliest honey ever harvested at UNE! We estimate yields to be upwards of 5 gallons so far, evidence of sheer pollinator power. UNE’s honey will be sold in the fall as part of the Edible Campus initiative. All proceeds earned will go directly back to the UNE Honeybee Conservation Club to help keep our hives beautiful – and buzzing!
See the bees in action: https://vimeo.com/733745499