Students from the Butler University World of Plants class and the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) will work together on a tree-planting event on Tuesday, October 20, from 10:00-11:30 AM and 2:30-4:00 PM.

At the “Trees for Bees” event, students will plant trees to enhance the pollen sources for ISBVI bee hives.

A swarm of European honey bees clinging to a tree

The event is the result of a 2015 Tree Campus USA Mini-Award received by Biology Instructor Marva Meadows. She said the class project is trying to address some of the nutritional problems by planting 20 new species of trees and shrubs that are honey bee friendly.

“Honey bee hives will benefit by having a diversity of pollen and nectar planted close to the hives themselves,” she said. “This may allow the bees to resist some of the other stresses that are plaguing hives around the world. Our teams of Butler and ISBVI students have been learning about flowers and honey bees together and will culminate in planting their chosen tree on Tuesday.”

Honey bees are responsible for one-third of our food, Meadows said. Agricultural production of almonds, berries, fruits and vegetables are a direct result of honey bee pollination.

Unfortunately, honey bees are in decline from a number of pressures including Colony Collapse Disorder which may be caused by new parasites and pathogens like Varroa mites, nosema fungi and deformed wing virus, she said.

“No one is sure about how the liberal use of pesticides may be causing additional stress to the hives. And nutritional problems caused by a lack of variable pollen and nectar sources may also be weakening honey bees.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan