Mountainview High School is a hive of activity, thanks to the arrival of 10,000 bees.
The bees, including the queen, which arrived in the mail from the North Island, have settled in to their new home on the school’s 2ha farm.
Head of department for agriculture Mark Bennett created the hive using his own “nurse bees and workers”.
“We basically made two nucleus colonies,” Mr Bennett said.
“It’s a starter, just enough to get it going.
“There’s enough nurses to look after the eggs and brood and [there are] enough workers to forage.
“There’s probably an easy 10,000 in there and when the queen is in full flight, she can lay up to 2000 eggs.”
Mr Bennett started beekeeping last year and spent his summer holidays studying the process.
He said other staff at the Timaru school were also beekeepers, so there were plenty of people to go to for advice.
The bees, which will benefit the school’s agriscience class, will be particularly useful for pupils studying the manipulation of organisms, Mr Bennett said.
The subject will feature in part of the school’s recently developed agriscience programme, which aimed to give pupils a chance to explore a vast range of industry aspects, from soil formation and chemistry to extracting byproducts from milk.
Mr Bennett said the bees would allow the pupils to look at breeding insect protein, keeping bees for honey and queen-rearing.
They will also, possibly, look at extracting honey towards the end of this year.
Mr Bennett has also increased the school’s supply of Epipens – shots of adrenaline – in case anyone who had an allergy to bees was stung.
The pupils, however, always study the bees with care by keeping themselves covered with protective suits, including hats and full face masks.