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Duke Today: Duke Student Spreads Buzz About Bees

Published: 5 years ago | 0 comments

The following article and video were published on Duke Today. See the original article here.

Master’s student Xander Kent is on a mission to teach others about bees

By Julie Schoonmaker
December 4, 2014

In an attempt to calm the bees in his own backyard hives, Xander Kent talks to his winged friends.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t like being disturbed. I’m going to get out of here though.”

In addition to studying for finals at Duke, Kent also focuses on prepping his beehives for the cold winter months ahead. The dual master’s student at Fuqua School of Business and Nicholas School of the Environment checks each comb in his two beehives to make sure the thousands of bees inside have enough honey to survive the winter.

“That’s them saying this is our food for the winter and its ready to go,” says Kent as he assesses one of his hives stocked full of honey.

While many shy away from bees, Kent recognizes the benefits of caring for them. Come spring, when it’s warm enough to safely open the hives again, Kent plans to spread the buzz about the importance of bees to fellow Duke students and the surrounding Durham community. Through hive workshops and other educational efforts, Kent wants to help others understand bees’ connection to the own food system and the environment.

“If they were to look a little deeper, they’d realize that a lot of their flowers and their gardens are getting pollenated by these bees and it’s kind of a cool community service that you can think, ‘Oh my bees are going out and pollenating everybody’s flowers.’”

Kent became enthusiastic about beekeeping while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. He taught farmers there how to become beekeepers, which helped them generate more income by selling honey and improved their farm production through pollination.

“Despite being afraid of bees, I actually ended up working on a development project training bee keepers for two years so that when I came to Duke, everyone wanted to talk to me about bees,” Kent says.

While many people are squeamish around bees, Kent hopes his educational outreach efforts help them overcome their fears. After working closely with the insects, Kent realizes they are not nearly as terrifying as he once thought.

“Just exposure after exposure, I realized, like just about anything, if you understand what’s going on, you can overcome that,” Kent says.

If you’re interested in getting involved with beekeeping, subscribe to the Duke Apiary Club mailing list:

To learn about bees and upcoming educational events, visit the Duke Campus Farm website:


See original article here.

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