Bees installed in Southern Colorado's first smart-hive

PUEBLO – The population of the Pueblo Zoo grew from 500 to 60,500 on Tuesday, April 18 when 60,000 bees were installed in what will be the first smart-hive in Southern Colorado.
 
The smart-hives and native insect bee wall were installed as part of the new Pollinator Exhibit at the Pueblo Zoo. The hives will use sensors to collect data from the hive including temperature, humidity, weight and other factors that will be used to help monitor honey bee colony health. The native insect wall was originally constructed by the local community at the 2016 Pueblo County Fair and was donated to the zoo by the CSU-Extension Office.
 
The honey-bee hive installation is part of the preparations for a Pueblo County Earth Day event at the Pueblo Zoo and this summer’s upcoming BeeWise Program. The Earth Day event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bee hives and the zoo’s pollination garden as well as family-friendly activities.The zoo will also be running a special during the event. Any Pueblo Zoo guest 18-years-old or younger will receive $2 off gate admission during the event from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
 
The BeeWise Program is a grant-funded program through the Colorado State University (CSU) – Extension Office. STEAM / 4-H Youth Development Extension Agent Jane Crayton recently won two grants totaling $32,500 to create the BeeWise Program, compliments of eXtension Foundation and Colorado 4-H Foundation. She also received a technology donation from SparkFun to help prototype the sensor components for the smart hive. BeeWise is a 21st Century beekeeping program that integrates Internet of Things (IoT), Maker Ed and Citizen Science to provide expanded Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) opportunities for youth in Pueblo County.
 
“These grants are delivering hands-on science, technology, engineering and math education using project-based arts that will have a real impact in Pueblo's ability to attract future technology businesses. Extension youth programs using these technologies are aiming to deliver 21st century education, especially in areas where youth will learn to build and make with technology, not just consume it! AgTech is a real potential area of economic development in Pueblo, and this project demonstrates the future potential for integrating technology into agricultural programs” Crayton said.
 
The native insect bee wall, smart hive, and the pollination garden will be used throughout this summer’s BeeWise Summer Camp and a Pollinator Maker Workshop series to provide experiential opportunities for youth and the public to interact with pollinators.
 
Registration for the BeeWise Youth Summer Camp opens on May 1. The five-day sessions, for youth ages 8 to 13, will be held once a month in June, July and August at the Pueblo Zoo. The BeeWise Program’s Pollinator Maker Workshop series begins in May and will teach adults how to create a new pollinator habitat each month including humming bird feeders, a native bee hotel, butterfly feeder and bat boxes.
 
Anyone interested in learning more about the BeeWise Program can call the Pueblo County CSU-Extension Office at 719-583-6566.
 
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Paris Carmichael, Pueblo County Community Information Manager, at carmichp@pueblocounty.us or 719-252-8550.