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​History of the Bees at RIC

Queen Latifah, Queen Elisabeeth, and Queen Beeatrice 


  • Anthropology professor Dr. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban visited University of California- Davis campus bee research facility. She was intrigued with the use of honeybees on campus and wanted to start a program for Rhode Island College, focusing on honeybee research and bee education.  


  • With approval and heavy support of previous RIC President Dr. Nancy Carriuolo, three hives and beekeeper protective gear were donated by the Rhode Island Bee Association (RIBA). 
  • Betty Mencucci and RIBA began using RIC campus to teach a basics of beekeeping class. 
  • im Murphy, Sustainability Coordinator, took over the hives after Dr. Fluehr-Lobban and her husband Dr. Richard Lobban’s retirement. Both continue to support the hives with supplies and advocacy today.  
  • Ed Lafferty and members of RIBA, along with Jim Lawson, State Bee Inspector for the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), assist in the caretaking of the hives.

Dr. Geoff Stilwell, Jim Murphy, and Dr. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban.


  • DownCity Design, a non-profit architectural and engineering group for high schoolers, built a storage and educational setup for fieldtrips. 
  • They built honey comb shaped storage with bee facts on the fronts that doubles as seating, a honeycomb shaped white board, and shed to keep the beekeeper gear.
  • Field trips are started for Henry Barnard Lab School on campus for preschool-elementary students. Word is spread and soon middle school and high school students from across Rhode Island are joining. 
  • A study was started focusing on the Small Hive Beetle, a species of invasive beetle that is living in hives, stealing resources and killing hives across the East Coast. 
  • This grant funded project is continuing to be led by biology professor Dr. Geoff Stilwell.


  • Dr. Frank Sanchez started his presidency and continued supporting the hives. 
  • RIC served as a distribution point of queens in the RIBA/DEM “Queen Rearing” program 


  • Studies are continuing about the SHB and many local students are learning the joys of beekeeping and how bees affect our environment 

Students of all ages learn about the hives on campus, instructed by Jim Murphy. ​

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Page last updated: April 16, 2019