PODCAST/GALLERY: Lehigh Beekeeping Club tends to hives and promotes the importance of bees

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Unknown to the majority of Lehigh students, two bee hives reside on Mountaintop Campus.

These hives, which each contain between 30,000-40,000 bees, are tended to by the Lehigh Beekeeping Club, led by faculty advisor Andy Januszak.

Many students visit the hives, ensuring the bees are thriving and feeding them if necessary.

Some students like Sabrina Fineberg, the former president of the club, say they feel relaxed in the presence of the bees.

“It’s the most comforting sound,” Fineberg said, referring to the buzzing noise the bees make.

Members of the beekeeping club tend to Lehigh’s hives Oct. 22 on Mountaintop Campus. A sign on the trees near the hives reads “Caution: Honeybees Hard at Work Do Not Disturb.” (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) Julia Pietruszka ’20 examines a frame from one of the hives Oct. 22. Pietruszka is the current President of the Lehigh Beekeeping Club. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff)
(From left to right) Julia Pietruszka ’20, Danielle Gyory ‘19, and faculty advisor Andy Januszak tend to the hives Oct. 22 on Mountaintop Campus. While they wear protective gear just in case, very few people have been stung by the Lehigh bees. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) Beekeeping club members pour a sugar water mixture into the feeder located at the bottom of the hive. While the honey the bees produce is their main food source, this sugar water is given to them while the weather is still warm so they can build up their honey supply for the winter. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) Lehigh Beekeeping Club tends to two hives located on Mountaintop Campus. Each hive has between 30,000-40,000 bees. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) Julia Pietruszka ’20 carefully removes one hive box from the hive. These stackable boxes allow the beekeeping club access to the lower levels of the hive. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) A frame with many bees on it is pulled out of the hive. Each hive contains many frames where the bees can build comb, store nectar and make honey. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) Andy Januszak carefully examines a bee that landed in his hand on Oct. 22. He is the faculty advisor of the Lehigh Beekeeping Club. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff) A smoker is used to mask the alarm pheromones that the bees use to communicate. This calms the bees down and makes them easier to work with. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff)
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Beekeeping club members pour a sugar water mixture into the feeder located at the bottom of the hive. While the honey the bees produce is their main food source, this sugar water is given to them while the weather is still warm so they can build up their honey supply for the winter. (Delaney McCaffrey/B&W Staff)

Being the caretakers of these creatures can also prove difficult at times. Last spring, members of the club discovered thousands of the bees had mysteriously died. The hives have since recovered in recent months.

Club members continue to work hard to ensure the survival of the hives and to promote the importance of bees around campus. Each spring, the club harvests the honey the bees have made and give it away on campus with a donation to the club.

Students interested in learning more about the Beekeeping Club can email inbee@lehigh.edu or visit its Instagram, @lehighbees.

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