Bee Campus USA

What Is Bee Campus USA?

Bee Campus USA. Professor Rippel and a student in a UTD Honors College t-shirt, with a UT Dallas beehive between them.

Bee Campus USA is an organization that provides a framework for campus communities to work together to conserve native pollinators. Campuses are recognized for increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides among other projects. As an affiliate, UTD students, faculty, administrators, and staff work together to carry out these commitments and make our campus a better place for pollinators.

UTD’s Commitment to Pollinator Protection

As a university we are committed not only to sustainable landscape management practices but to the education of our campus community. Our campus serves as an example and as inspiration for others seeking to beautify their landscapes while protecting pollinators. Through the use of native plants and trees, we have created an environment in which pollinators and students alike can thrive. Campus pollinator events engage students outside of the classroom and encourage them to step up as leaders of sustainability.

Our Commitments

Establish a standing Bee Campus USA committee to advocate for pollinators

Our committee consists of students, staff, and faculty who are working together to ensure UTD continues to lead the way in pollinator protection efforts.


Bee Campus USA Committee
Gary Cocke Co-Chair
Eve Gersh Co-Chair
Dr. Christina Thompson Faculty Representative
Dr. Scott Rippel Faculty Representative
Dale Bufkin Grounds Supervisor
Avery McKitrick Staff Representative
Craig Lewis Staff Representative
Sravya Thotakura Sustainability Club Representative
Isabelle Bartlett Student Representative
Shreya Billa Student Representative
Nathan Collins Student Representative
Vedant Sapra Student Representative
Arsh Syed Student Representative

Create and enhance pollinator habitat on campus by annually increasing the abundance of native plants and providing nest sites

In addition to maintaining our campus apiaries we also continue to provide opportunities for students to expand our pollinator habitat and become leaders in pollinator protection. We favor native plants over other landscaping materials because they are best adapted to our environment and support our native wildlife.

Review our pollinator friendly native plant list. (XLSX [Office Open XML Workbook] )

The Sustainability Map (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ) map shows the current locations of our apiaries and wildflower planting areas.

Reduce pesticide use

Our integrated pest management plan (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ) (IPM [Integrated Pest Management] ) guides campus grounds on how to prevent pest problems in a way that is friendly to pollinators through increasing the use of non-chemical management methods and reducing the use of pesticides.

Offer courses that incorporate pollinator conservation

Taught by our own apiologist, Dr. Scott Rippel, Honey Bee Biology (BIOL 3388) gives students the opportunity to learn about the lives of bees and gain hands-on experience within our campus apiaries. The Hobson Wildenthol Honors College offers Collegium V Honors Readings – Honey Bees & Society (HONS 3199.hn1), a course taught by Dr. Christina Thompson, that surveys the many ways in which honeybees contribute to our lives.

Offer service-learning projects to enhance pollinator habitat

Events led by our UTD Eco-Reps, Office of Student Volunteerism, and Office of Sustainability engage students from all majors to interact with pollinators and inspire them to become leaders of sustainability within their own communities and fields of study.

Display signage focused on pollinator conservation

Pollinator Sign. A sign reading “UT Dallas Wildflower Planting Area” amid a field of wildflowers.

Signs posted on campus designate no mow areas and pollinator habitats.

Pollinator Events

BioBlitz. A person standing in a pond while holding a turtle.


Our annual BioBlitz event coincides with the City Nature Challenge, which is a competition to motivate citizens to find and document wildlife in their communities. The UTD BioBlitz event offers students an opportunity to contribute to citizen science while also learning how to use artificial intelligence tools to identify and document wildlife observations. Specimens are recorded on the iNaturalist app to provide data for scientific research and conservation efforts.

Community Garden / Pollinator Garden. A row of leafy vegetables planted in the ground.

Community Garden / Pollinator Garden

The UT Dallas Community Garden provides Comets the opportunity to learn how to garden and enjoy their produce while supporting our local pollinator population with a variety of floral sources. Adjacent to the community garden is the pollinator garden which hosts native plants and flowers.

To volunteer to help with the Community Garden and Pollinator Garden contact the Office of Student Volunteerism.

Earth Week. A professor wearing a beekeeper’s protective gear demonstrating a frame of honeycomb to nearby students.

Earth Week

Earth Week brings the UT Dallas community together every year to celebrate sustainability. During Earth Week, students have many opportunities to learn about pollinators and to get involved with our campus conservation efforts such as our live bee tent at the Plinth during Earth Fair and hive installs at our campus apiaries.

Honey Helpers Program

It is estimated that pollinators, especially honey bees, are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we take and that they increase our nation’s agricultural values by more than $15 billion each year. Research has established that honey bees have been in serious decline for more than three decades in the United States. Throughout each semester, the Office of Sustainability hosts events in which students, from all majors, can enter our apiaries and learn about these pollinators in ways they will never forget. These experiences allow students to see bees in managed and wild habitats so that they may learn about the behaviors of bees and the threats that face colonies today.

Honey Collection. Dr. Rippel standing over a beehive wearing a beekeeper’s protective gear demonstrating a frame of honeycomb to nearby students.

Honey Collection

Students are invited to join Dr. Rippel and our Bee Campus USA Eco Rep in collecting frames of honey during select times of each season. Students put on protective equipment, open the hives, and pull out honey frames. These frames are transported to the lab for processing. Here students scrape the frames, filter out the wax, and bottle the clarified honey for our Comet Honey sale. These events allow students to glimpse at the daily workings of bees and beekeepers. Both the economic and ecological benefits bees provide to our society are witnessed by students in a hands-on setting.

Hive Inspection. Dr. Rippel blows smoke over several beehives.

Hive Inspection

To ensure the health of our bees, hives are inspected regularly throughout each semester. During inspection events, students learn to examine bee behavior for signs of disease, swarming, and environmental concerns. Students remove hive frames containing larvae to gauge the queen’s laying pattern and overall health of the hive.

Swarm Trapping. Dr. Rippel blows smoke over several beehives.

Swarm Trapping

These traps serve not only to catch wild beehives, but to keep them from entering undesirable spaces such as building walls. Students pair up in teams and help to set traps and monitor them for activity. If a trap is found active the bees are then transported to our apiaries where they will be integrated into our hives.

Contact to learn more about becoming involved in the Honey Helpers program.


Watch a bee hive installation at UT Dallas.

Can’t play the video? Download it in MPEG-4 (MP4 [Moving Picture Experts Group MPEG-4 Video] ), Ogg Theora (OGV [Ogg Theora Video] ), or WebM (WEBM [WebM Video] ) format.

Comet Honey Sales

The Office of Sustainability sells honey (called “Comet Honey”) collected by Honey Helpers one to two times a year for $5 per bottle. The timing and frequency of sales depends on the honey production of the bees and the availability of volunteers to collect and process honey. We are typically not able to commit to large pre-orders of honey (10 or more bottles) due to this uncertainty. To be notified when the next sale will be taking place, please subscribe to our newsletter and follow our Instagram. For direct inquiries regarding Comet Honey, please contact