Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 12:45 pm | Fog/Mist 67º


Westmont College Campus Abuzz Over New Hive, Beekeepers Club

After more than a year of planning and preparing, Westmont College welcomed a beehive to its campus in October.

A member of the Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association and Westmont senior Daniel Erickson placed the top bar beehive in a remote area below the track to minimize risk to the bees and Westmont community.

Erickson, who is a double major in economics and business and philosophy, is president of a new Westmont beekeeping club whose goal is to teach fellow students about the importance of bees. The Westmont College Student Association helped pay for the hive.

“The purpose of the hive is mostly educational, and we will also gain whatever benefits we can through pollination of the local agriculture,” he says. “The Westmont garden is nearby, and we have a great campus to offer the bees.”

A third of the nation’s food supply, including fruits, vegetables and nuts, are pollinated by bees. But the current U.S. honeybee population is less than half of what it was in 1945. Most experts blame multiple factors, such as pesticide use and climate change.

“Trying to get a hive to survive in this drought is like trying to start a sub­prime loan firm in the middle of 2008,” Erickson says. “There’s a possibility the hive will not survive, but there is a need. I cannot solve the problem with one hive on lower campus, but I think I can help a little bit.”

He hopes his efforts will create a buzz on campus and in the community and more people will be interested in learning about bees and their vitally important work.

“I think people are very quick with, ‘Oh, I don’t want to get stung,’ and are kind of ignorant,” he says. “As a kid, I would find bees, tie a string around them and fly them around. So, I guess I have come a long way, too.”

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.


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