May 16, 2022 - News

Atlanta teacher turns bees' death into valuable lesson

bee hive
Teacher Meghan McCloskey opens the hive of bees she relocated. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

An educator is using last month’s tragic death of millions of honeybees at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to teach students about how critical bees are to our food chain.

What's the buzz? Meghan McCloskey, a teacher at Springdale Park Elementary School in Atlanta, was among several beekeepers who rescued thousands of bees trapped in hot containers on a tarmac.

Sadly, most of the bees died from heat exposure. McCloskey added fewer than 5,000 rescued bees to a hive at the school’s rooftop garden and another 10,000 to a hive at her home.

  • On Friday, McCloskey said the bees created a new queen cell that she expects to hatch in about two weeks.
bees
McCloskey with the bees she relocated from the airport. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

What they’re saying: McCloskey began beekeeping with her daughter about five years ago.

  • “People realize this is something that's disappearing, and (that) we need to protect,” she said of the bees. “It’s more than just honey production, and it's more than just having some berries. I think people realize it is more about society in general and what it would do, if bees collapsed, to our whole food chain.”

Context: Scientists are monitoring the decline of honeybee populations, and some experts are sounding the alarm on what it could mean for food production if these pollinators are wiped out.

bee hive
A closer look at the relocated bees. Photo: Kristal Dixon/Axios

McCloskey tells Axios that the students have been enthralled with the story about the bees and watching them transition to their new home. Some students have started gardens and beekeeping at home.

  • "For me, having the bees here is about setting up…how these kids will treat bees in the future,” she said.
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