Thursday 22 February 2018

Queen Medb beats Beeyonce in Trinity royal naming

L-R Emilie Gavin aged 4 and a half and Molly Byrne aged 2, with Jane Stout, and beekeeper and Trinity SU President, Kevin Keane and Eion Dillon, Student. Photo: SHARPPIX
L-R Emilie Gavin aged 4 and a half and Molly Byrne aged 2, with Jane Stout, and beekeeper and Trinity SU President, Kevin Keane and Eion Dillon, Student. Photo: SHARPPIX
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The exact location of Trinity College's new apiary is being kept under wraps, to protect the campus's new Royal VIP - Queen Medb.

The beehives are located on the roof of one of the buildings in the D2 college.

"I won't say which building exactly," Professor of Botany and bee expert Jane Stout said, "for security reasons, but the hives are located on one of the roofs, away from students and visitors."

The queen bee has been christened Medb after a nationwide competition which saw entries pour in from over 20 countries around the world.

Emilie Gavin aged 4 and a half. Photo: SHARPPIX 
Emilie Gavin aged 4 and a half. Photo: SHARPPIX 

Popular suggestions included Beeyonce, Bee McBeeFace (no doubt inspired by the naming of polar research vessel 'Boaty McBoatFace' in 2016), and Honeycomb McGregor.

Queen Beelizabeth, Polly(nator), Trinibee and Beeram Stoker were also contenders. However, Queen Medb was selected by a judging panel of students, TCD staff and beekeepers, for several reasons.

"Queen Medb was a strong female leader in old Irish mythology who sends her army out into the world to conquer," Professor Stout said. "And the word means intoxication which is fitting as the Queen Bee controls her workers and drones through pheromones.

"And the name has the same roots as the English word 'mead', which is a drink made from honey."

The name 'Medb' was suggested by several different people, and Dublin resident Cormac McMullan was randomly selected as the winning entrant from those.

As his winning prize, Mr McMullan will be presented with the first jar of honey that is harvested from the Trinity hives.

The hives were first introduced to the campus in April, since then the number of bees has increased from 200 to 30,000.

Professor Stout says during the height of summer, as many as 80,000 bees will populate the hives.

"The bees are the newest additions to the college campus and will allow us to carry out essential research work, including the difference in the chemical make-up of honey from urban hives compared to rural hives."

There are 98 different types of bees in Ireland - a third of which are under threat of extinction.

"Protecting all these bee species is important as different species do things slightly differently," Professor Stout said.

"The goal of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, and the Trinity Campus Pollinator Plan, is to enable all bees and other pollinators to survive and thrive."

Irish Independent

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