Bee Blown Away at the Buccaneer Bee Company

The new Buccaneer Bee Company is the latest buzz at Berkeley complete with a chance to explore nature and try plenty of sweet honey.

Richard Shao, Staff Writer

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What differentiates Berkeley from other private schools in Tampa? Bees. Berkeley’s latest addition is its very own beehive, the location of which is strictly confidential. Here, aspiring beekeepers collect honey and study the behavior of honeybees under the supervision of Science Department Chair Dr. Nicole Ackerson. The Buccaneer Bee Company, founded by Bill VandeGroep ‘20 and Evan Navori ’19, aims to improve the ecosystem and help beautify the Berkeley campus through a widely-feared but mostly harmless entity — the bee.


U.S. Department of Agriculture, Flickr
DON’T BEE AFRAID: Bees are good! Honeybees are an integral part of the ecosystem as well as an important provider of honey for humans to enjoy.


Bee enthusiasts Navori and VandeGroep asked Ackerson to be their faculty sponsor because of her enthusiasm and concern for the ecosystem — a place where bees play a vital role through pollination, allowing plants to reproduce and develop. Although many people may be concerned about safety, the Buccaneer Bee Company has gone through many stages to ensure the club’s safety approval (“Including a lawyer!” as Navori stated).  All participants are required to sign a contract and buy their own beekeeping suit in order to ensure their safety. VandeGroep added, “People with bee allergies are not encouraged to participate.”


pellegrinifarmgirl, Pixabay
PRACTICE BEE SAFETY: The beekeeper plays an integral role in the production of honey by collecting honey from the beehive. His white suit, much like the ones the Buccaneer Bee Company members wear, protects him from stings. While one sting is not likely to harm him, many stings can be lethal.


Another perk of joining the club is that all members of the Buccaneer Bee Company will receive authentic Berkeley honey for their participation. A majority of the honey, however, will be allocated to visitors as a unique gift or sold on the Internet, with all profits donated to the Berkeley Scholarship Fund. “It is a unique way to give back to the Berkeley community while also obtaining a tasty treat,” VandeGroep said.


If you want to join a club, come out and discover how bees are our friends (not enemies). “Although many run away from these tiny creatures, bees are a very important resource,” says Navori. “They pollinate flowers and encourage the growth of beneficial plants. An abundance of bees on campus will surely improve Berkeley.”


The Buccaneer Bee Company meets Mondays at lunch near the physics rooms. For more information, contact Evan Navori or Bill VandeGroep at n[email protected] or [email protected].

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