Meet a Student: Jeremy Ambrose
Undergraduate criminal justice student Jeremy Ambrose thinks his new hobby is the bee’s knees. He has spent an “embarrassingly large” amount of time researching bees online and in books, and now he has a business plan buzzing in his head. Below he shares more about his fascination.
On the beauty of a beehive:
As soon as you open a hive, it’s like a whole new world. [The bees are] extremely social insects. They have an entire system of communication through touch, pheromones and dance.
On the possibility of getting stung:
I’ve accepted the fact that it’s probably going to happen. … Honestly, it’s a little nerve-wracking the first time you go in because you’re going to be working with about 10,000 stinging insects at one time.
On the beekeeping suit:
My mentor, he told me to not wear a veil my first day. Not wearing the veil—a lot of beekeepers will think that’s pretty stupid. If you get stung in the face, you’re going to look like Quasimodo for the next couple of days. … I put the veil on during my first day, and then once I started really opening the hive and working with the bees, I pulled it right off. There was no reason for having it; they were so chill.
On the first year of a beekeeping business:
Unfortunately, the [bees in the] hives don’t produce excess honey in their first year because they’re gaining strength and they’re growing in number. We need to make sure of their survival before we can take anything from them.
On bees in the winter months:
It’s actually a boring life for them in the wintertime. … They’ll form a tight cluster and they’ll vibrate their wing muscles so that the air around them rises in temperature. They keep that cluster at about 98 degrees. The bees on the outside of the cluster act as insulation, and they keep the heat in. And then they rotate shifts so that they all stay warm.
On bees’ intriguing habits:
They don’t tolerate sloth at all. So if there’s a lazy worker, [that] worker’s out. If there’s a dying worker, they’ll take the dying worker out of the hive and let it die outside. And any dead bees that are inside the hive, they’ll fly them out.
On his (surprising) fear of bugs:
I’ll be honest—I absolutely hate bugs. My grandparents have a huge property over in Jessup [Maryland]. Over there, they have wood bees the size of my pinkie. They’re pretty nasty; they’re red and black. I saw one kill a monarch butterfly right in front of me. Bees are not a joke, but honeybees are so docile.