Bee Campus USA

What is Bee Campus USA?

It's not just about the bees! Thinking globally and acting locally, Bee Campus USA provides a framework for campus communities to work together to conserve native pollinators by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. Bee Campus USA affiliates make commitments to conserve native pollinators. Students, faculty, administrators, and staff work together to carry out these commitments and make their campus a better place for pollinators.

Bee Campus USA Logo

So why is Syracuse University Involved?

900 Acres of Opportunity

The University offers a vast habitat perfect for pollinators spanning over 900 acres across the campus. The Grounds crew is very active in providing healthy, native habitats to all pollinators who buzz across the orange blossoms.

Global Impact

The goals of Bee Campus USA correspond directly inline with the University's goals for a more sustainable world while spreading awareness and educating all students who walk through our doors.

Pollinator Awareness

The University has the unique ability to create a platform for all pollinators through awareness opportunities and our passionate students.

The Bee Orange Project

In 2019, Associate Teaching Professors Lisa Olson-Gugerty and Mary Kiernan in Falk College were awarded a Campus as a Lab grant to place six honeybee hives on campus. The hives were placed on South Campus in the spring of 2020 and produced over 27 gallons of honey in their first season! Their contribution as a pollinator helps support one-third of the world’s food production as well as the reproduction cycle of hundreds of bee-friendly plants.  This in turn benefits the local ecosystem and cultivates biodiversity.  Unfortunately, North American beekeepers are experiencing high colony loss due to a variety of diseases, the use of pesticides, and the reduction of pollinator-friendly and native plantings. To help bolster the local ecosystem and biodiversity, we are proposing to establish honeybee hives on Syracuse University grounds, offer educational workshops on beekeeping for the University and local communities, and support bee-friendly initiatives throughout the area.

The hives are located on the Unversity's South Campus, around the corner from Pete's Giving Garden.

Syracuse University Campus Honey

 

In Spring 2020, Syracuse University’s South Campus became home to six honeybee hives, which house over 300,000 honeybees. In their first year on campus, the bees harvested enough nectar from campus plants and trees to create over 300 pounds of honey. The honey is harvested twice a year and has been bottled for sale on campus. In the next few weeks, University community members will be able to purchase the honey in the Campus Store in the Schine Student Center, as well as in campus convenience stores.

The product for sale is raw honey, meaning it is not processed and contains only one ingredient: honey. Raw honey retains beneficial nutrients, pollen, and antioxidants that processed honey does not. The honey has a distinctive Syracuse University flavor, due to the unique plants in the area of the hives. A jar of honey will cost $12, with all proceeds for its sale going back to support the honeybee hives overseen by Sustainability Management.

Currently, Syracuse University has 950 acres, of which 624 acres are green space, which supplies bountiful habitats for pollinator species, encouraging their critical existence. The establishment of honeybee hives in an area helps to support pollinator-dependent plants, including native plantings and agriculture-producing plants.

 

Syracuse University Honey sitting in the snow outside of the flagship building, the Hall of Languages

Get Involved!

If you are a student, faculty, or staff member at the University and would like to be more involved in Bee Campus USA, reach out to Meg Lowe, Bee Campus USA at Syracuse University Committee Chair, at .

Native pollinators co-evolved with plants over millions of years, forming mutualisms in which plants and pollinators rely on each other for survival. In the United States, non-native (“exotic”) plants dominate ornamental landscapes, largely because they tend to attract fewer unwanted insects. The horticulture industry has become adept at “improving on” the species that were native to the United States to make their flowers larger, brighter, more suitable for cutting, etc. This process often leads to a reduction in the quality of pollen and nectar or loss of pollen and nectar altogether. While some exotic or hybridized species supply adequate nectar, native pollinators primarily rely on native plant species. Plant wholesalers and retailers tend to grow mostly exotics, hybrids, and named cultivars that may or may not provide the food and nesting sources native pollinators rely on. These plants are often treated with pesticides, many of which harm pollinators.

Pollinator-Friendly Native Plant Lists

Xerces Society prepared the following lists of recommended native plants that are highly attractive to pollinators such as native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, and are well-suited for small-scale plantings in gardens, on business and school campuses, in urban greenspaces, and in farm field borders.

Find Pollinator-Friendly Native Plants

Habitat Installation Guides

Developed in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, these regional and state-specific guidelines provide in-depth practical guidance on how to install and maintain nectar- and pollen-rich habitat for pollinators in the form of wildflower meadow-type plantings or linear hedgerow-type plantings. Seed mixes and plant recommendations for each region are included in the appendix of each guide. While some of the terminologies in these guides is developed with USDA agency staff in mind, these guidelines provide real-world-tested methodologies for developing valuable and effective pollinator habitats.

Find a Habitat Installation Guide

Habitat Assessment Guides

These pollinator habitat assessment guides are designed to help educate conservation planners and landowners, prioritize conservation actions, and quantify habitat or land management improvements for pollinators or beneficial insects on a single site.

Find a Habitat Assessment Guide

Syracuse University uses an Integrated Pest Management System

What is an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system?  According to the EPA: IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals. Syracuse University currently scouts highly maintained turf each day, looking for weeds, harmful insects, disease, and moisture levels in the soil. Through monitoring the pests, the University has developed threshold levels. Pesticides are used when the levels of pests have exceeded the threshold and the damage to the turf becomes excessive. By practicing IPM the University Ground's Crew has gained skills to properly identify pests, their life cycle, and developed an understanding of the best time to apply pesticides with minimum damage to pollinator species. The University Grounds crew is very specific with the products used and choose the most effective product to bring the number of pests down to a tolerable level with the least amount of environmental impact.