Bees and Hives and Suits … Oh my! … An Unexpected Monday Swarm

Bryan Hull

Bryan Hull
Bryan Hull is currently the Digital Publishing Program Manager at the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah.

It’s the unexpected that is the most interesting in life, don’t you think?   Monday morning … making your way through email … the phone rings … there’s a bee swarm in the tree in front of the College of Nursing building … not on the list of things to do … not MY area of experience or expertise … but it is at the top of my LIST …. NOW.   Fortunately, we have lots of expertise on campus including the Salt Lake City Beekeeper, the President of the University of Utah Beekeeper’s Association, and the Salt Lake County Bee Inspector.   Of course, with Utah “beeing” the BEEHIVE STATE with the honey bee as its official state insect … well … what did you expect!

IMG_3173The Salt Lake Beekeeper advised us on the situation.  Bees in swarms are actually quite focused on their own needs and not much at all on people.  So they mostly ignored us and went about their business of finding a new hive location – which is what swarming is primarily about.  They stayed in and around the tree for about 1½ hrs and then totally disappeared, apparently headed for a better abode.

Meanwhile, the President of the Utah Beekeeper’s Association, which maintains the new hives on the north side of the Health Sciences Education Building [HSEB] arrived … but not before the swarm had left.   Together we checked the HSEB hives to verify that the swarm had not originated from those hives.   DEFINTELY NOT was the conclusion as you will see from the videos (taken by Richard Beck) as I donned a beekeeping suit for the very first time and assisted (that means mostly watched) as Stephen Stanko (beekeeper extraordinaire) checked and then added a second story (upper box) to three of the hives.   After watching for a while, I got to check and add new accommodations to the last hive!!

You never know what a Monday morning will bring along the University of Utah health sciences education corridor … bees busily swarming, a library faculty member calling in the experts and learning the art and science of beekeeping, and a building manager catching it all on film, while the bees busily buzz by beeing bees.

If you are interested in bees and beekeeping, be sure to LIKE the University of Utah Beekeeper’s Association on Facebook where they will let you know about upcoming events including when they install new hives or inspect existing ones!   And be sure to check out the hives on the north side of HSEB – from the bridge between Eccles Health Sciences Library [EHSL] and HSEB, from the walkway between the two buildings, from the big south-facing picture window on the upper level of EHSL, or from windows on the north side of HSEB Alumni Hall.

Written by: Joan M. Gregory, Librarian and Associate Director for Resources and Facilities

Watch as we check the hives (YouTube video)