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What’s buzzing? The honeybees at the University of Illinois Pollinatarium. The colony this year has the best balance between brood and food the Pollinatarium hive has ever had.

Whether you are new to honeybees or have been keeping hives for years, being able to view the bees behind glass and watch their every move is fascinating.

The hive is a single layer, so you can follow the movements of the queen, all the workers and the drones. The queen is a little shy this year and will sometimes hide between the frames.

But if we are quiet, she will reappear looking for places to lay eggs. I love the live exhibit and never tire of sharing the “girls” with visitors. The bees promote themselves.

The Pollinatarium is a science education center devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators. Pollination is a key process that sustains communities around the world.

The Pollinatarium is dedicated to increasing the appreciation and knowledge about the importance of plants and pollinators involved in pollination.

We want to help promote the protection of plant communities, crops and their pollinators. One of the best ways you can help is to plant flowering plants to feed all of the pollinators. This includes trees, shrubs, prairie plants and spring wildflowers.

Come visit and learn more. Participate in activities and hands-on learning about native bees, honeybees, butterflies and other pollinators, as well as their host plants. We have crafts, coloring, storytelling and games to engage you.

You can take apart a real honeybee hive and learn what makes a good home for native bees. Learn what feeds the bees and butterflies while having a little snack of honey yourself.

The Pollinatarium is located at 606 W. Windsor Road in Urbana. Walk-in hours will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays in October.

Schedule a field trip for schools or groups, available Wednesday through Saturday. For more information about scheduling a visit to the Pollinatarium, email Lesley Deem (lesleyd@illinois.edu) or go to our website and submit a visit request form: pollinatarium.illinois.edu/.

Lesley Deem is the director/teacher of the Pollinatarium in the Department of Entomology at the UI.

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