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Monday, 10 February 2014 19:19

Cold weather kills bees at popular KU Natural History Museum exhibit

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A University of Kansas Natural History Museum exhibit is now empty after officials said the cold weather killed the bees, which were the main focus of the popular display.

According to officials, it's one of the most popular exhibits at KU's Natural History Museum.

"We know a lot of people really love the bees," said Communications Director Jen Humphrey at the KU Natural History Museum.

However, now the exhibit is empty and officials said the weather is the reason to blame.

"We suspect what happened is that the pretty severe snow storm that came in with a pretty strong and consistent winds from the east, and it appears what may have happened is that the wind came directly into our observation hive," said Director of Exhibits Bruce Scherting.

Scherting said all observation hives have a small opening for the bees to go into the environment and collect pollen, because the ultimate goal of an observation hive is to let the bees live in as much of a natural state as possible. However, due to the recent cold weather in Lawrence, that natural setting did not help the bees.

"Because of the direction of the wind and how strong it was, it looks like it may have gotten into the tube that lead into the hive," said Scherting.

Scherting said it is not unusual for some of the colony to die of during the winter months, but to lose an entire hive is a different story.

"We were very surprised," said Scherting.

"Losing the bees to the cold was certainly completely unexpected for us," Humphrey said. "We've never had that happen before."

Now the exhibit remains quiet until the weather warms up and a new colony can be brought in. According to Sherting, the exhibit will now be taken apart and sterilized. In the spring they will bring in a new queen and colony.