Posted: Sep 27, 2021 07:00 AM
This month, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo welcomed more than 13,000 humming bees to its on-site wildlife collection thanks to Newtown residents Zosia Teraszkiewicz, 15, and Thaddeus Teraszkiewicz, 17.
The brothers have a long-standing passion for pollinators, which has led them to organize a variety of initiatives, including a bee sticker business where a portion of the sales supports beekeepers. They have also offered their expertise to help bee colonies at local venues, such as the Newtown Victory Garden. [as reported in “Local Scout Abuzz For Victory Garden Bees,” published in April].
Her most recent project has been raising a colony of bees in her home and creating an educational display hive. They donated the hive to Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport over Labor Day weekend as part of the zoo’s new pollinator conservation program.
Zosia and Thaddeus volunteer at the Beardsley Zoo and give presentations to visitors. They met Jim Knox, the curator of education at Beardsley Zoo, through the Explorers Program and through programming he does with his father’s work, Reconnect 24.
“Mr. Knox mentioned the pollinator project the zoo was working on. Part of the work you do with the Explorer Program is learning about an animal that you would like to bring to the zoo. Then you learn about all the elements it takes to add an animal: things like its diet, housing, its food source, marketing so people know the animal is at the zoo, and then fundraising to support the cost of the animal ”, explained the brothers in a joint statement.
Zosia chose the bee, and after doing her research, she felt it was the perfect time to add a hive of bees to the zoo’s corral.
During the summer, the brothers caught a swarm of bees and housed it in their garden until the zoo was ready.
When asked what the experience of living with bees so closely at home was like, Zosia said: “When I was younger it was a bit intimidating, but then I became more interested in beekeeping. The proximity of the bees to me no longer baffles me. I often find myself sitting right next to the hive, observing the different colors of pollen that they bring into the hive. “
There is much to do with wonder, because the colony that was donated is estimated to have between 13,000 and 18,000 bees.
Being responsible for so many tiny creatures that are so valuable to the environment took a lot of attention and responsibility.
“To care for the hive, we open the hive every 10 to 14 days to make sure they are healthy, make sure the queen is still there, make sure there is enough food, and make sure the breeding pattern is good.” Thaddeus said. “As winter approaches, we may need to give them some sugar water and some fondant to help them get through the winter.”
So far, Zosia and Thaddeus have donated a hive with two brood boxes, an inner cover and an outer cover, a bottom board and a feeder.
They hope they can grow the colony in the spring and that the public can learn more about the important role bees play in the world by seeing them at the zoo.
The brothers shared: “We love our bees and we love to share our knowledge of their importance. Pollinators are essential for the production of food and flowers. We want people to learn to appreciate them rather than fear them. Once you understand how friendly bees are, you can’t help but be fascinated by them. So we donated to help inform the public and share our love for bees. “
On September 13, the Beardsley Zoo posted on Facebook to inform the public about the great work teens have done and to encourage people to visit.
The zoo wrote: “We hope you head straight to our New England Corral as it continues to grow and develop! The Farmyard Meadow represents native prairie plants that provide food and a home for pollinators. And there’s an added BUZZ with our new bee hive, generously provided by Thaddeus and Zosia [Teraszkiewicz]… The [Teraszkiewicz] The family will take care of the bees and the habitat. Gifts like this are sweeter than honey! Bee is sure to stop by soon! “
For more information on the Beardsley Zoo, visit beardsleyzoo.org.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at email@example.com.
Left to right is Beardsley Zoo Education Curator Jim Knox with Henryk, Kelly, Thaddeus, and Zosia Teraszkiewicz, and Brendan Manchester, who created the leveled cobblestone platform to place the hive, during the hive installation of Exhibit bees on September 7. —Photos courtesy of Kelly Teraszkiewicz
Brothers Zosia and Thaddeus Teraszkiewicz place their donated display hive in the New England corral at the Beardsley Zoo on September 7.
Newtown resident Zosia Teraszkiewicz stands with a beekeeping tool called a smoker, which is used to distract bees as they inspect the hive, on Sept. 16.