Amanda Harlow checks out the beehives behind the Franklin D. Schurz library and at the Conservatory at Potawatomi Park. She checks the health of the hive and keeps an eye on parasites to prevent blight from destroying the hive. Thousands of bees make their home in the two areas and promote sustainability in an urban environment. Staff photo by Santiago Flores
At a glance
What’s potentially next for IUSB’s sustainability showcase:
• Gardens, including a second, larger community garden
• Teaching lab for sustainability classes
• Greenhouse with vegetables
• Rain barrels (water would be used in gardens)
• Composting area for food scraps to reduce food waste
• Electric car charging stations
• Tiny house exhibit
Alexandria Smith, South Bend Tribune
SOUTH BEND — Roy Saenz starts each Tuesday by putting on his old Marine desert cammies, a bee veil and gloves — his outfit for tending to about 55,000 bees.
Starting at the Conservatory at Potawatomi Park, Saenz and Amanda Harlow, a marketing and advertising student, walk back to the gardens where two beehives wait for their weekly inspections.
They check the bees' sugar water, and refill if necessary. Then they begin looking for the queen bee on the different frames inside the hive.
"We check to make sure she's healthy and alive, and then we check to see if she's laying eggs and how well," Saenz said. "We look at the general health of the hive, any signs of disease, and also for hive beetles, mites or wood roaches."
Each hive is a stack of boxes, called honey supers and deeps, with 10 frames in each layer of the box. A honey super can weigh 40 to 60 pounds when full of honey, and a deep can weigh 90 pounds.
Saenz and Harlow use tools to loosen the frames to remove them. They examine how the bees are building honeycomb, and the pattern of the eggs, if there are any larvae.
After, they make the quick trip to the Indiana University South Bend campus, where two more hives wait behind the Franklin D. Schurz Library. Then they start the process over.
The beehives are the first example of sustainable living in the university's sustainability showcase. The showcase isn't a one-time event; instead, it's 10 city lots on the university's campus that will eventually include several examples of how sustainable living is possible in the city.