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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Disoriented bees storm the library and STAS

A+dead+bee+lies+in+front+of+Fawcett+Library+
Bianca Arteaga
A dead bee lies in front of Fawcett Library

“Was this act of violence and deprivation of life necessary?”

On the morning of October 7th, Webb’s STAS group on Outlook was teeming with emails. Within minutes, dozens of replies entered conversations, all responding to the initial question that Hunter Lange (‘22) posed regarding the decision to remove bees.

Despite the recent prominence of the bee situation, their presence is not new to Webb. In fact, there have been two beehives on campus since the beginning of the school year, one on the trunk of the oak tree in front of North Hutch, and one at the back of the library. One student was stung by a bee in the hive in front of North Hutch, which is why facilities contacted beekeepers.

The particular outbreak in the library is the result of the flushing that forced the bees outside of the hives.

Facilities scheduled flushing of the two hives at the end of August after the report on the beehives and student stings. The goal was to keep the bees out of the current hives, with the hope of relocating them on and off campus to avoid injuries of students.

“[After reports on students who were stung], we contacted our beekeeper to see if he could remove the hive or flush them out,” said Dan Fraley, director of facilities. “We finally got on their schedule yesterday [October 6th] and they came out and flushed both hives out, trying to save as many bees as possible.”

On October 6th, the beekeepers arrived on campus and placed products on the hives that encouraged relocation. Unfortunately, no one besides the beekeepers were present during the flushing process, so information on the specific procedures is limited.

“Once they flushed both the hives out, it was when the bees started finding ways into the Fawcett Library to leave their hives,” Mr. Fraley said.

After the flushing, the bee populations experienced extensive stress, and while most quickly left the hives, many became disoriented and travelled through conduits on the exterior of the fireplace wall and entered into the library, dying as they entered the space. Webb facilities and library staff quickly reacted to the situation by quarantining the library area with plastic and tape so that any bees that came in stayed in that one area.

Although Webb took immediate measures to minimize harm, an estimated 1,000 out of the 40,000 bees in the colony died when they traveled too far from the hive. At the same time, several students got stung.

The disorientation of the bees at the back of the library led to the temporary closure of the library on October 6th as staff sought to clean the space and ensure it would be safe to enter. Until the time of publishing, areas by the fireplace remain closed to protect students from bee stings and allergic reactions.

After flushing, the beekeepers’ work is done, and the two hives on campus are abandoned and closed off, which is why the bees are outside, now flying around outside the back of the library.

“We are waiting for the population to find a new home,” Mr. Fraley said. “Hopefully somewhere on campus, so they can pollinate the flowers.”

The bee crisis in the library soon initiated conversations regarding the ethics behind the school’s treatment of bees. Some students believed it to be a necessary measure to ensure the safety of students, while some students took issues like animal preservation into consideration.

“I think that Webb’s treatment was the quickest way to keep us safe and to keep classes going in the library,” Isaac Nicolosi (‘25) said.

The conversation escalated on the morning of October 7th, with topics ranging from proper ways to handle the situation, weighing human and animal lives, as well as the proper etiquette to engage in debates on STAS.

Webb has a long tradition of championing difficult conversations and encouraging students to disagree respectfully, and the STAS conversations inspired students to continue broader discussions on environmental issues while avoiding simplifying problems with polarizing opinions.

“People are making [the issue] way too serious and other people are making this way too much of a joke,” Emily Black (‘24) said. “We need to find a balance.”

Some students who wished to further discuss the issue held a “bee conference” during lunch, but only three students showed up.

While the debate started on the most appropriate ways to handle the situation, the conversation became more proactive as students provided relevant resources and defined their roles in the community through voicing their thoughts.

“It is a decision that has already been made, and there is no way that we can go back,” Ethan Undello (‘25) said.

Webb was able to quickly respond to the crisis to ensure the community’s safety, and Stephanie Baron, Health Center Director, sent out an email on the evening of October 6th to inform students on caring for and treating stings. Tips include quickly removing the stingers, icing the wound, and taking medications if necessary.

The conversations that the event sparked have already shed new light on what students prioritize in the community.

“It is not just a conversation about bees,” Kenny Clay (‘25) said. “It is about how we interact and preserve our environment. I don’t like how the conversation turns into pro and anti-bees. Not wanting bees in the library does not mean that you are anti-bee. I don’t think the terms are helpful here.”

It is challenging to ensure the peaceful coexistence of humans and animals on campus, and the ultimate goal behind flushing the bees and quarantining the library is to guarantee such friendly coexistence, minimizing injuries on both sides.

“[Webb is] right on the edge of wilderness,” Mr. Fraley said. “We have bees, we have bears, we have coyotes, and bobcats. That’s all part of nature, and we are actually invading their space. So, we try to handle all the situations accordingly. This time, some bees perished, but the colony as a whole survived, and that’s what we tried to do.”

Note: Dr. Mark Dzulathe adviser of the Webb Canyon Chronicle, is also staff for the Fawcett Library.

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About the Contributors
Cathy Wang, Editor-in-Chief
Cathy Wang (‘22), an international boarding student from Shanghai, returns to Webb this year not only as the Editor-in-Chief for the WCC- but also as a dorm prefect and admissions fellow. She is excited to be back on campus, taking new classes and reconnecting with the Webb community. So far, Cathy’s favorite course that she has taken at Webb has been Advanced Studies Fascism with Ms. Fisher, which she enjoyed because of how the course related to current issues that she cares about, such as education and gender inequality. These are just a few of the topics that Cathy hopes to shed some more light on, both via the WCC and in person. Outside of classes, Cathy enjoys playing badminton and tennis, reading Latin literature or magical realism, and taking occasional trips to the Claremont Village. Additionally, you might also find her sipping her daily coffee or eating any kind of Japanese food. As the world slowly comes back from the pandemic and Webb shifts to in-person learning, Cathy hopes for the WCC to serve as a facilitator for the Webb community in fostering much-needed connections between people. Favorite song: "I Lost A Friend" by Finneas
Sunny Yu, Editor-in-Chief
Sunny Yu (‘22) is a prime example of the protagonist personality. As a natural leader, she is active, thoughtful, caring, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the WCC, a member of the Chapel Council, the captain of the varsity cross-country team, and a founding member of Webb’s Breakfast literary magazine. Sunny is also vocal and passionate about the enforcement of social justice and representation of marginalized groups: at the WCC, she utilizes journalism as a tool to shed light on many controversial issues, never shying away from the ability to make a lasting impact. During the weekends, you can often find her on a run to “The Spot,” a smoothie shop, playing soccer on Chandler, and occasionally annoying the library staff for borrowing too many books, such as her favorite, Waiting for the Barbarians, a wonderful allegory on human relationships. As a protagonist, she finds joy in guiding young journalists to grow into their best selves. This year, Sunny hopes that the WCC can continue covering important topics and spark conversations while bringing people laughter and keeping them informed. Favorite song: "Sunflower Feelings" by Kuzu Mellow
Bianca Arteaga, Public Editor
Do you know many busy bees at Webb? If you don't, then maybe you haven't met Bianca Arteaga ('22)—a self-described bee, she is productive, cheerful, and hardworking. She is, like many productive people, a morning person, and very organized. So perhaps it is no surprise that she is taking on the added challenge of AP Spanish this year, in order to better help people internationally in the future. Bianca eventually wants to become a lawyer and help people worldwide, which she may need Spanish for. For now, Bianca wants to help people locally by using the WCC to teach freshmen and sophomores to love Webb as she does. Bianca's other passion is protecting the environment. Despite being a very busy and successful student, Bianca is also very skilled in the athletic department. She is the varsity softball captain and hopes to continue playing even once she goes to college. Besides her work, Bianca also has a fun side: she loves playing the guitar, is obsessed with Taylor Swift, enjoys watching romcoms, and loves dad jokes. Bianca's many interests, well-balanced lifestyle, and unwavering work ethic truly make her a queen bee! Favorite song: "All Too Well" by Taylor Swift
Jenny Wang, Editor-in-Chief
Returning after a transformative summer at Northwestern University, Jenny Wang ('24) is rejoining the Webb Canyon Chronicle as Co-Editor-in-Chief, bursting with fresh journalism skills. Jenny is primarily humble when talking about her talents and interests, she occasionally forgets to flex that she is also a pianist, flutist, comedy enthusiast, and badminton pro. As a prominent figure at Webb, Jenny serves on the VWS honor cabinet, captain of the debate team, and chapel council. Finding comfort in shows like Grey's Anatomy and Gilmore Girls, she balances the demands of her busy life. Jenny's academic pursuits lean towards humanitarian issues; over the summer, she invested extra time into political risk research, specifically analyzing aspects of Israeli lifestyle. Beyond her academic commitments, Jenny's mission this year is to infuse WCC articles with potent and well-balanced viewpoints. Her intellect, vibrant personality, and unwavering laughter contribute to an environment full of energy and positivity. There is no doubt, Jenny Wang embodies a dynamic blend of talents, passions, and determination that enriches both the Webb community and the wider world. Through her versatile contributions and infectious laughter, Jenny's presence leaves an indelible mark, reminding us all of the power of embracing one's passions and sharing them with the world.  Favorite Song: "Welcome to Wonderland" by Anson Seabra
Emily Li, Chief of Media
Emily Li ('24) is not your usual iPad kid. You might see her using her tablet, but trust me: she isn't playing Roblox. She is a passionate artist who loves to create artwork on her iPad. Emily's favorite thing to draw is the people around her, focusing on experimenting with colors. She also enjoys dancing to popular K-pop stars IU and Mamamoo. Just like her top-notch dancing skills, she has a crazy tolerance for spicedo not be surprised when you see her empty bottle of sriracha. However, Emily's dynamic personality is not confined to her personal endeavors. As head peer advisor, she steps into a leadership role that suits her naturally empathetic and social nature. She finds joy in building bridges, fostering connections, and offering a sympathetic ear to those around her. One of Emily’s main goals this year is to give as much love as she can to the world. At the Webb canyon chronicle is to improve the diversity of articles and further refine the website after designing it. In a world where each stroke of her digital pen, every dance step, and all her interactions paint a picture of her vibrant self, Emily Li stands not only as a multitalented artist, leader, athlete and beacon of positivity, illuminating everything she touches with her unique and colorful perspective. 

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