Bee class creates positive buzz

U-Wire and U-Wire

The University of Arkansas apiculture class – ENTO 4043 – has students excited to learn about honeybees and how to take care of them. ‘I love bees. This has been my favorite class on campus in four years,’ said Morgan Holladay, a senior anthropology major. Don Steinkraus, professor of entomology, uses lectures, videos and guest speakers to teach his students about bees. However, for the students involved, the most exciting part of the class is learning about bees firsthand. ‘This class has inspired a passion and thirst for bees. I can’t learn enough about bees,’ said Amanda Gillespie, a sophomore kinesiology major. ‘I honestly love this class and don’t want it to end. The hands-on experience is the most surreal and exhilarating experience I’ve ever had.’ Holladay said this class is the first at the UA to have a curriculum based on experimental learning. ‘This class takes a holistic approach to learning science, medicine and beekeeping,’ Holladay said. During every class there is a ‘show and tell’ portion when students bring examples of how bees are portrayed or used in today’s culture. Students have presented everything from newspaper articles and poems about bees to empty honey liquor bottles. The class also has dissected bees, made lip balm and hand cream out of beeswax, tasted different kinds of honey, and installed a beehive. For many students, the most exciting project was unplanned. After the ice storm earlier this semester, the class was contacted about a fallen tree with a bee colony in it, and members of the class went to collect it, said Sam Kincannon, a freshman horticulture major. ‘We chopped up the tree, wrapped it and took it away,’ Kincannon said. The portion of the tree containing the bee colony sits beside the beehives the students care for. ‘This course offers an amazing close-up view of the apiculture world that otherwise may have gone undiscovered by so many students,’ said Jeffery West, a senior poultry science major. Steinkraus said his No. 1 goal is to give students an appreciation for bees and beekeeping. ‘(Apiculture) has not only given me useful knowledge, but also a greater appreciation for the honey bee,’ said Sam Green, a senior biology major. Gillespie said Steinkraus ‘exhibits an enthusiasm in his field of study I’ve never experienced from a professor. It has been a joy and a privilege to have learned so much from him.’ Steinkraus displays his enthusiasm in class by playing guitar while students sing songs about bees. Many students said they now want to raise a hive at some point in their lives as a hobby. ‘This class is outside my field of study, so I was reluctant to sign up, but the class has been very interesting and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,’ said Daniel Mullen, a senior in chemical engineering. ‘Now I can’t wait to get my own hives.’