Beehives come to campus

By Jessica Lewis
On February 25, 2010

"I am what I call a bee whisperer," Professor and Chair of the Department of Science Education. Patrick Gannon said. "I can read the mood of the hive." Gannon will be setting up an apiary, consisting of two beehives, in the University Bird Sanctuary, in late April to early May of 2010.

"It just blew my mind how beautiful the walk from the parking lot was… I have never seen anything quite like it," Gannon said of the scenery at the University. However, he did wonder where the bees were. "Being a beekeeper, I was looking around at the flowers and I didn't see any [bees]," Gannon stated. Gannon met with Frederick Soviero, the director of grounds and landscaping, and asked Soviero where the bees were. Soviero assured Gannon that pesticides were not used on campus, and he also did not know where the bees were.

Gannon currently has four honeybee hives in his backyard and said beekeeping is a, "labor of love." He then suggested to Soviero that the University should also house a couple of beehives, Gannon explained. Soviero agreed with Gannon, and then went through the legal process with the Provost in attempt to get the beehives in the bird sanctuary. Herman Berliner, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, was on board with the idea of the hives and, "not because of the jar of honey I gave him," Gannon said.

Gannon assured the Provost that the honeybees will not harm the students, but "if a student went and kicked the hive a group of them would come out and sting." Gannon also said that, "insects are a lot more dangerous than honeybees… yellow jackets are the bad guys."

Maintaining a beehive does not involve an intensive process; the bees take care of themselves, Gannon explained. "The trick of a beekeeper is to make more honey…I persuade them to make more honey," Gannon said. The honey the bees will produce will be one of the best outcomes of the beekeeping process at the University.

Gannon already sells the honey produced from his personal beehives and sells it to his community under the label, ‘City Island Gold,' a name his 6-year-old son created. Gannon also said that natural honey is much better than processed ‘bear honey' from stores. He guarantee's natural honey and lemon to help with allergies. Gannon declared, "My dream would be to sell honey here [Hofstra]." He explained that natural honey is, "just a nice personalized gift for family and friends," as many members of his community already enjoy it.

"I'd like to see involvement from the students and faculty," when the beehives are established at Hofstra, "this is for fun, beekeeping is just fun."

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