Beehives vandalized at Blackburn College
By JORDAN GRUCZA
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
On a night last week currently unknown to Blackburn officials, two beehives were damaged by multiple individuals according to Dr. Jim Bray, a biology professor at Blackburn College.
“We found last week when we did the hive check, I guess at least two people decided to come on campus and kick two different hives over and basically just left them torn up,” said Bray. “They took a metal post and then busted a couple of the concrete blocks they sit on. So two hives were damaged and one standing hive I guess you could say was damaged. They left really nice big footprints on them, so at least you can see what shoes they were wearing.
“Luckily, one student and our resident beekeeper got into action pretty quickly. It looks like we’re going to be able to salvage the hive and the bees. It’s just a matter of cleaning up the mess and the damaged hives.”
Bray stated that there are currently no suspects at this point. Blackburn security staff is investigating, and Carlinville Police Department confirmed that nothing from Blackburn as of yet has been turned over to them.
“Sustainability efforts regarding bees goes back a couple of years,” said Pete Oswald. “A beehive was located near the library which the insurance company said had to be removed, and rather than destroy the cherry tree and the beehive, there was a gentleman who came in and trapped the entire swarm. Following that there were donations of hive boxes and equipment. It ended up developing to where we now have 11 hives on campus.”
Oswald stated this was in response to the rapid decline in bee population, and ties in to a history of valuable bee studies at Blackburn that goes back 100 years.
“We also have this new solar project that we just had groundbreaking on,” said Oswald. “And now this six acres of ground with the panels will be planted with pollinator plants too. So there’s a whole effort underway to assist the local bee population. And so it’s a slam, if you will, against us when someone comes up and vandalizes the project.
“The whole sustainability issue goes pretty wide for the campus because we’ve got the solar project for renewable energy and a lot of ongoing recycling efforts. This is all incorporated into the topic of sustainability. We have a whole committee here who oversees a lot of that work. So to look at this as just random vandalism, well, this has an effect on a much larger scope project.”
The individuals who damaged the beehives left clear shoeprints on the scene. Biology professor at Blackburn Dr. Jim Bray stated both the hives and bees will be able to be salvaged. Photo provided.