Teen Beekeepers Donate Colony To Beardsley Zoo
This month, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo welcomed more than 13,000 buzzing bees to its menagerie of wildlife onsite thanks to Newtown residents Zosia Teraszkiewicz, 15, and Thaddeus Teraszkiewicz, 17.
The siblings have a longstanding passion for pollinators, which has led them to organize a variety of initiatives, including a bee sticker business where a portion of the sales support beekeepers. They have also volunteered their expertise with helping colonies of bees for local places, such as the Newtown Victory Garden [as reported in “Local Scout Abuzz For Victory Garden Bees,” published in April].
Their most recent project has been raising a colony of bees at their home and creating an educational display hive. They donated the hive to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport over Labor Day weekend as part of the zoo’s new pollinator conservation program.
Zosia and Thaddeus are both volunteers with the Beardsley Zoo and do presentations for visitors. They got to know Jim Knox, the curator of education at the Beardsley Zoo, through the Explorers Program and through the programming he does with their dad’s work, Reconnect 24.
“Mr Knox mentioned the pollinator project that the zoo was working on. Part of the work that you do with the Explorers Program is to learn about an animal you would like to bring to the zoo. You then learn about all of the elements that it takes to add an animal: things like their diet, the housing, their food source, marketing to let people know the animal is at the zoo, and then fundraising in order to support the cost of the animal,” the siblings explained in a joint statement.
Zosia chose the honeybee and, after doing research, felt the timing was perfect to add a hive of bees to the zoo’s farmyard.
During the summer, the siblings caught a swarm of bees and housed it in their garden until the zoo was ready.
When asked what the experience was like getting to coexist with the bees so closely at home, Zosia said, “When I was younger it was a little intimidating, but then I got more interested in beekeeping. The bees’ proximity to me doesn’t faze me anymore. I often find myself sitting right next to the hive, watching for the different colored pollen they bring into the hive.”
There is plenty to watch in amazement, because the colony that was donated is estimated to have between 13,000 and 18,000 bees in it.
Being responsible for so many tiny creatures that are so valuable to the environment took a lot of attention and responsibility.
“To take care of the hive, we open up the hive every 10 to 14 days to make sure they are healthy, make sure the queen is still there, make sure there is enough food, and make sure the brood pattern is good,” Thaddeus said. “As winter gets closer, we may need to feed them some sugar water and give them some fondant to help them get through the winter.”
So far, Zosia and Thaddeus have donated a hive with two brood boxes, an inner cover and outer cover, a bottom board, and a feeder.
They hope that they can grow the colony in the spring and that the public can learn more about the important role bees play in the world by seeing them at the zoo.
The siblings shared, “We love our bees and love to share our knowledge of their importance. Pollinators are critical for the production of food and flowers. We want people to learn to appreciate them rather than fear them. Once you understand how gentle bees are, you can’t help but be fascinated by them. So, we donated to help inform the public and share our love of the bees.”
On September 13, the Beardsley Zoo posted on Facebook to let the public know about the great work the teens have done and to encourage people to come visit.
The zoo wrote, “We hope you’ll make a beeline to our New England Farmyard as it continues to grow and develop! The Farmyard Meadow represents native meadow plants that provide food and a home for pollinators. And there’s an added BUZZ with our new bee hive, generously provided by Thaddeus and Zosia [Teraszkiewicz]… The [Teraszkiewicz] Family will provide the care for the bees and the habitat. Gifts like this are sweeter than honey! Bee sure to stop by soon!”
For more information about the Beardsley Zoo, visit beardsleyzoo.org.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at email@example.com.