The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

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

Bees return to Fawcett Library

Elena Petrova
Caution tape was placed near the library to make students aware of the bees near the library. The Fawcett library was swarmed with bees during long lunch on Monday, March 18th, which triggered an evacuation of students. “I was sitting in the library as this was happening and probably within 10 minutes I was evacuated,” Mirabel Raphael (‘24) said. “They told me that I had to leave through the back door. I felt like I was escaping from some kind of emergency.”

On a warm afternoon, Webb students found the Fawcett Library main entrance swarming with buzzing bees once again. The area was marked off with caution tape, and students were evacuated through the Fawcett Library backdoor, leaving many to wonder what was happening and how long the swarm would last. 

“The bees were going to make a nest there, but we had to get them out because of the students,” said Eric Pedregon, Lead Groundskeeper.  

To manage the bee swarm, the maintenance team called a beekeeper; shortly, about 90% of the bees, including their queen, were successfully relocated.  

However, some bees were still seen in the area the following day. Yet, this situation is not unusual as bee swarms can leave behind scout bees, the bees that search for nesting sites.  

When most of the swarm is relocated, the scout bees that were out exploring during the collection might come back. Eventually, these remaining scouts are likely to disperse, but they can be seen lingering in the area as they try to regroup with their colony. 

The removal of the queen bee is crucial in relocating bee swarms, since the remaining bees generally follow her. Therefore, once the queen is safely relocated, the chance of the remaining bees forming a new colony in the same spot is significantly reduced. 

“If [the queen bee] likes it in a certain area, she’s going to stay there,” Mr. Pedregon said. “If she doesn’t like it, she will leave, and they will all take off with the other worker bees.” 

Before the beekeepers arrived on campus, the maintenance team took proactive measures to protect our community. Soon after the first sight of the bees, the security team placed caution tape around the library’s main entrance.  

With the closure of the main entrance came the email from Cindy Lopez, Executive Assistant to Dean of Students, addressing the issue. In the email to Student News, Ms. Lopez advised students to use the library’s back door to avoid disrupting and irritating the bees.  

The very next day, Dr. Mark Dzula, Director of Teaching and Learning Resources, replied to the email with “Front door is cleared and ready for you all,” bringing the students back to the bustling hub of activity and learning.  

The quick action from the maintenance team and the closure of the library’s main entrance was necessary for public safety, particularly because bee allergies are often unknown in the community. 

After the beekeeper collected most of the bees, including the queen, from near the library, he relocated them to Mount Baldy, using specialized boxes designed for bee transportation and relocation. These boxes not only ensure the safe transfer of the bees but also serve as temporary homes until they can be properly integrated into new hives. 

Once in their new location, the bees adapt to their new surroundings, build combs, collect pollen, and produce honey. This way, the bees, now probably in their new home at Mount Baldy, stay in a more natural and less disruptive setting. 

The 2021 bee incident involved a larger colony of bees outside the Fawcett Library than this year.  

“When I saw the email on Monday, I thought this was just going to become a repeat of [the 2021 bee incident] when everyone was going wild on STAS,” Mirabel Raphael (‘24) said. 

Then, the beekeepers used products intended to encourage the bees to relocate from their hives situated outside the library.  

However, the intervention caused extensive stress to the bees, leading to disorientation and unpredictable behavior — many of the bees entered the library through conduits on the exterior of the fireplace wall, stinging members of the community and causing chaos in the library.  

“After they sprayed [the area around the hives], the bees were trying to find another way to flee the area and they somehow found openings to come through,” said Melissa Mani, Fawcett Assistant Librarian. “We had to block off that south area of the library and they would still try to go through it — some of them even got all the way [close to the entrance] and I got stung twice.” 

Mr. Pedregon ultimately concluded that bee infestations are bound to happen.  

“The bees are going to come whenever they want and there’s good where we live,” Mr. Pedregon said.  

Although balancing human safety and environmental conservation is a challenge, it is possible to respect the autonomy of bees while also creating safe environments for all through patience, informed action, and proactive measures. 

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About the Contributors
Elena Petrova
Elena Petrova, Copy Editor
Elena Petrova (‘25) calls Moscow home, knowing every street and every pigeon, and yet she has been chased through the city for holding a piece of paper questioning the authority of her country's president. Always wanting her voice heard, she fights for her future and her community, hoping for a day when Russia can be free. As such, Elena looks forward to indulging her fascination with Russian and Soviet history and culture in Advanced Studies Cold War class. She also gives others a voice: as a passionate learner of many languages, she helps six students, including a Webb alum, embark on their linguistic journeys by teaching them English and Russian. As a Webbie, Elena serves this community as a prefect in Appleby, and a stage manager for this year’s fall play. Though she is very busy, you can also find her cooking new recipes, including her favorite dish: ratatouille. This year, Elena hopes to balance her urge to serve others with protecting her mental health and well-being. At the Webb Canyon Chronicle, she hopes to continue making the student community’s voice heard through more opinion articles, understanding that authority shall be questioned.   Favorite song:  ОГНЕЙ by SALUKI
Stephanie Ma
Stephanie Ma, Co-Editor of Opinion
Meet Stephanie “Steph” Ma ('25), a harmonious force within the Webb Canyon Chronicle and Webb Community. This past summer Steph leisurely sojourned in Korea, where she indulged in delicious street foods such as fish cakes and tteokbokki. She continued her summer melodiously with visits to Boston College and NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, where she immersed herself in the world of music, recorded her own songs, and had her soul serenaded by Masie Peters while visiting her brother in Canada. Looking through her Spotify, you are sure to find the ballads of Taylor Swift and Joshua Bassett. A talented instrumentalist, she plays a multitude of instruments such as the violin, guitar, and ukulele, yet her compositions extend beyond melodies. At Webb, the humanities strike a chord in her heart, especially classes conducted by Ms. MacPhee. As a maestro of leadership, Steph serves on the VWS Honor Cabinet When writing for the WCC Steph meticulously pieces together articles, most notably her compelling piece on the UC strikes. Finishing with a crescendo we can all look forward to seeing Steph thrive during her third year at Webb, while we take delight in her enlightened and empathetic articles during her second year at the Chronicle.  Favorite Song: "Cool About It" by Boygenius

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