Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Sunbridge Logo
News & Events

Buzzing with Life: Welcoming Honey Bees to Basecamp

Spring has sprung in Sunbridge, and with it comes a new buzz of excitement—literally! We’re thrilled to share that we’ve embarked on a sweet, new initiative that’s creating quite the buzz around here. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of some incredible individuals, beehives have been installed right here at Basecamp.

Meet the enthusiastic team behind this exciting project: Megan Jensik, Chloe Planakis, Kendall Lewin, Hannah Hall, and Ryan Christoe — all undergraduate students enrolled in Dr. Patrick Bohlen’s upper-level, research-intensive “Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping” course at the University of Central Florida. We’re grateful to these biologists-in-training for bringing their vision of sustainability and environmental stewardship to our wider Sunbridge community.

Back to the newest residents of Sunbridge: The bees you’ll see at Basecamp are European honey bees, specifically a Carniolan cross stock bred by Indian Summer Honey Farm near Webster, Florida. Known for their gentle nature, these bees are by all accounts a joy to work with. Dr. Bohlen anticipates this initiative will be a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone in the naturehood: “[The bees] are very gentle and could probably be worked without protective gear, but we always take precautions,” explains Dr. Bohlen.

But it’s not just about honey production. These bees also play a crucial role in our Florida ecosystem. By harvesting nectar from nearby natural areas and from the flora around Sunbridge, they contribute to local pollination efforts, while enabling us to enjoy delicious honey derived from our very own blooms.

“Honey bees will harvest nectar from the surrounding area, including the nearby natural areas which contain major spring-blooming nectar plants like gallberry and saw palmetto,” says Dr. Bohlen. “They will also visit any suitable flowers planted nearby at the Sunbridge Basecamp and surrounding roadways and neighborhoods.”

As with any sustainability initiative, it’s important to strike a balance. While honey bees are beneficial pollinators, having too many hives in one location has the potential to interfere with Florida-native pollinators like different kinds of bees (specifically, Southeastern blueberry bees, sweat bees, and American bumble bees), wasps, and other insects. To ensure we maintain a healthy ecosystem, we’ll be monitoring how the bees affect local pollinators.

“This summer, we may examine how they impact pollinators in the nearby boundary planting, where we have two years of pollinator data without the hives nearby, by comparing the pollinator communities before and after the hives were added,” explains Dr. Bohlen.

We’re excited to watch how these bees contribute to the wellbeing of our community and of our shared environment. Stay tuned for more updates as UCF and Sunbridge embark on this sweet journey together!

CTA Arrow What’s Happening