The Beekeeping Initiative

Bringing Honeybees to the U

Did you know you can visit honeybees at three locations on the University of Utah’s campus? Bridget Dorsey and Paul Baskin, both seniors in biology and leaders of the Honors Beekeeping Initiative, have worked hard to bring two auto-flow beehives to the honors college, the first of their kind at the U. 

The Beekeeping Initiative started out as an effort supported by the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund and were awarded funding, sponsorships from Flow Hive, and support from many other programs on and off campus in fall of 2018. Shortly after they built the hives in February 2019, they installed them on the south side of the Marriott Honors Community in April 2019. 

But these aren’t just any beehives: they contribute largely to non-invasive honey extraction. The flow technology uses “taps” that release honey from specially designed flow frames, allowing beekeepers to remove honey without even opening the hive. This newer technology makes the process more efficient and is a huge avenue for exploration and research. They’ve extracted many pounds of honey from the hives, and next year they plan to sell it. 

“I am interested in the idea that campus is a living laboratory,” Dorsey said. The Beekeeping Initiative has created a space where students could think critically about their relationship with the environment and have discussions about food justice and urban ecology. As well as educate and get students more familiar with bees. There is even a viewing window on the hives that allow people to look without disturbing them. “The more students we can get involved the more understanding there will be about bees,” Baskin said. 

The Beekeeping Initiative wants to change the idea that beekeepers aren’t just farmers — they can also be anyone. They want to instill confidence in students to bee-keep. The Beekeeping Initiative welcomes all students to get involved or to stop by the Marriott Honors Community and see the bees!

More articles like this in ‘Student Innovation @ the U!’

Find this article and a lot more in the 2020 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.

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