Irmo, SC (WLTX) - There's a lot of buzz at one Midlands school.
Students at Dutch Fork Elementary School Academy of Environmental Service now have the opportunity to see Italian honey bees inside their media center.
“I was kind of afraid to get close to it," third grader Savanna Burton admitted.
“I’m afraid of bees so it’s fun not being afraid of bees, and having them in my school," third grader Lola Gantt added.
The students had to warm up to their new observation hive that's enclosed in glass.
Fourth grader Kelsey Carroll says the bees had to warm up to them too.
“They’re less shy because they used to try to like go in the cracks and things, but now when we come, they like to stay out and do their work,” Carroll explained.
The students measure the weight and temperature of the honey bees throughout the day with a special computer. The computer calculates every panel of the hive.
Fourth grader Kayce Hyman said she loves her up close view of the colony made up of about 50,000 bees. She especially enjoys seeing them work.
“I like where I can see the honey, not capped all the time, because usually I just get it at the store and now I can actually see it, and how they make it,” Hyman, the new bee expert said.
There is a small opening leading outside to allow the worker bees to collect pollen and nectar to make honey.
While back inside, the queen bee stays in the hive working hard.
“Well the queen doesn’t really like coming out. She’s like she wants to stay in, and she lays all of the bees in there,” Gantt said enthusiastically. “She lays all of the eggs and she’s pretty much like the queen, rules everything in there.”
The students were eager to share that the queen can produce thousands of eggs each day, which is necessary since the bees have a life span of about six weeks.
Of course their teacher Heather Reit is overjoyed to see the children excited about learning about the bees’ lifecycles, and the benefits of the bees to humans.
“Our children have a front row seat to be able to observe the life cycle of the bees, so botany, agriculture, nutrition, environmental stewardship, ecology all in one full swoop,” Reit said.
Reit applied for the grant from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The school was chosen as one of DHEC’s Champions of the Environment and was awarded $2000 to get the hive.
William Gillaspy of Gillaspy’s Honey Bees installed, designed and built the observation hive.
The bees have lived at the school for two weeks and will now be a part of the school, bringing a buzzing nature lesson right to the classroom.