(Photo Story) Biology professor maintains bee colonies on campus

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Professor Mackelprang removes a feral beehive from an irrigation water meter on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018 at CSUN in Northridge, Calif. Mackelprang took the hive home right before they were expected to leave, in an attempt to find a more suitable location. Photo credit: John Hernandez

Many people have their own distinctive interests. For graduate Biology professor Rachel Mackelprang, it is being an Apiarist, or a beekeeper. Watching her father beekeep for the past 10-12 years peaked her interest in maintaining bee colonies herself. “Well I learned a lot from him, but I’ve learned a lot on my own now and experience of course is the best teacher,” Mackelprang said. Along with her scientific research, once a year Mackelprang harvests honey from the beehives she has at home and on campus, which are located near the G3 parking structure and in the Orange Grove. Mackelprang hopes to sell the honey she collects at the CSUN Farmers Market next semester.

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Professor Mackelprang stands aside two of her beehives by the G3 Parking Structure at CSUN in Northridge, Calif. Mackelprang, whose hobby is beekeeping since May 2017, has a total of four beehives on campus. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Professor Mackelprang holds a honeycomb with bees still attached to it in Northridge, Calif on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Bees release wax from their abdominal glands, chew it until soft then apply it to a structure to form cells. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Professor Mackelprang removes a feral beehive from an irrigation water meter adjacent to Arbor Court and Jacaranda Hall at CSUN. As word spread that Mackelprang worked with bees, she began receiving calls and emails by custodian to remove uncontrolled beehives found on campus. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Bees fly chaotically after Professor Mackelprang combines two colonies together in the Orange Grove at CSUN on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. The process, known as Uniting, was done to prevent the colony that does not have a queen bee from dying off during winter. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Professor Mackelprang checks for the productivity of bees on the frame of a hive body at CSUN on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. A hive body is a wooden box containing multiple frames where bees dwell to lay eggs and make honey from nectar. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Professor Mackelprang scrapes excess wax found on top of the frames of a hive body at the Orange Grove. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Bees are taken from Professor Mackelprang’s hives on campus and placed into a test tube filled with Ethanol to preserve their bodies. The bees are later dissected by Biology students in Mackelprang’s lab to study their guts. Photo credit: John Hernandez
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Professor Mackelprang stores test tubes containing dead bees in a freezer at her lab in Eucalyptus Hall at CSUN in Northridge, Calif on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. One undergraduate and graduate student conduct research by dissecting the bees to study the bacteria in their guts. Mackelprang looks for effects of certain medications given to bees as well as any differences due to the change in seasons year round. Photo credit: John Hernandez