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Beepods Beekeeping for Zoos & Botanical Gardens


  • Engage members and visitors with bees in a safe and sustainable manner
  • Members will learn about the impacts that honey bees have on the environment and agriculture
  • Our 'Complete Beekeeping System' includes bee-related presentations for members and the public as well as beekeeping lessons for employees and volunteers 
  • Improve your landscape & gardens through pollination that honey bees can bring
  • Create a positive community consciousness between employees and community volunteers

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Case Study: Milwaukee County Zoo

Going to the zoo is a fun and educational trip that millions of families take every year. Zoos are filled with exhibits that allow people to see and learn about animals from all over the world – and from their own backyards. At the Milwaukee County Zoo, there is now an exhibit of an animal that we can see in our everyday lives, but often don’t think about – the honey bee.

The idea to install a beehive at the zoo came about when Stephanie Harpt, one of the zookeepers at the Milwaukee County Zoo, attended the Beesentations class put on by the Milwaukee Recreation Department. Harpt said that she had been considering getting a hive at the zoo as an educational tool to teach zoo visitors more... read more...


Words from Our Zoos and Botanical Garden Customers

Stephanie Harpt, Zookeeper

Milwaukee County Zoo


I had limited knowledge about beekeeping until the Milwaukee County Zoo decided to get a beehive. I thought it would be challenging to manage the bee colony without getting stung. But it's been an enjoyable experience so far and a great learning opportunity. Having a hive has made me appreciate and respect bees so much more. The Bee Bootcamp was very helpful. It's nice to learn about the biology and behavior of bees prior to working with them. It gave me a better understanding of how a colony works. The hand-on training was the most helpful because I tend to learn the best while actually “doing”. It was especially helpful when you came to some of our inspections to help out. Our beekeeping volunteers feel more comfortable when there's an expert around to demonstrate the skills and answer questions as they arise. I also like that there are videos available on the website as an additional learning tool. I found the Hive Inspection Checklist easy to use and I like pictures that explain what everything means. The Healthy Hive Management Software was straightforward as well.

Jaqui Mundell-Wachowiak, Animal Department Night Operations Supervisor

Milwaukee County Zoo


I have a close friend who worked with bees, so I had some understanding about beekeeping before the zoo got a Beepods hive. I have enjoyed my experience thus far. The Bee Bootcamp was well done, interesting and informative and the service and assistance you guys provide has been fantastic.

Eliza Fournier, Urban Youth Programs Director

Windy City Harvest Youth Farm (a program of the Chicago Botanic Garden)


We had struggled with beekeeping for years using commercial hives at our Windy City Harvest Youth Farms. Staff and youth farmers alike were not confident in accessing or maintaining the hives from week to week and year to year.  It was haphazard at best, frustrating at worst.  We had high hopes for the Beepods hive to help us turn our beekeeping education around and our expectations have been exceeded!  Our staff and youth farmers are highly confident in accessing, maintaining, and tracking the hive activity.  During a recent open house, youth farmers led a demonstration of their skills for a large group of visitors... something that we were never able to do before.

Several of our staff mentioned that the training Laura led was the best beekeeping education they have ever received. It was thorough, engaging and full of helpful visuals. Laura has been so flexible and communicative. She engages the staff and youth farmers and shares her passion for beekeeping with them all.

Ray Hren, Pachyderm Keeper

Milwaukee County Zoo


I have an interest in helping conserve bees. My grandfather used to keep bees, which fascinated me and made me want to follow in his footsteps. Working as a team has made the whole process enjoyable so far. I thought the classes that Beepods led were great. I learned a lot. The informational videos, updates on the hive status and the assistance we've received during inspections have been very helpful.

Stacy Whitaker, Lead Bonobo Keeper

Milwaukee County Zoo


I'm amazed by how busy the bee are! I have really enjoyed the beekeeping experience and have learned a lot about bees. They are absolutely fascinating creatures. The training we received was well done. The classroom experience was very informative and thorough. The hive-side training helped bring everything together. The hands-on portion really helped. The Beepods team have been helpful when we have had problems. I especially like that we can see trends and the colony’s progress over time using the Healthy Hive Management Software.

Terese Dick, A Long-time Volunteer

Milwaukee County Zoo


This beekeeping experience is truly one of the best things I have ever done! I think that beekeeping is completely misunderstood. Bees are incredible in their behavior, social structure, abilities to take natural resources and turn those into the purest honey I have ever tasted. I am looking forward to continue learning and growing as a beekeeper.

The training materials that Beepods provides are excellent! Great reference materials, well organized, and easy to understand. The combination of class room, tutoring and assistance at the hive were invaluable. You not only explain how a Beepod is structured, but also explain why things are done for the health of the hive. You shared your own experiences and make yourselves available at any time for questions and to come out to the hive to help us.

The videos are also an amazing resource. The inspection form you provide are easy to follow and to fill in the information. For me, I just need to increase my skills in identifying the cells and the contents of the comb itself.

Becky Danes, Visitor Services Assistant Manager

Milwaukee County Zoo


Before we got a Beepod at the zoo, my knowledge of bees came from experiences during field trips as a kid to nature reserves; white boxes, white clothes, smokers... I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and learning with the bees at the Milwaukee County Zoo. I have honestly learned more in the past few months about bees than I think I've ever known about them. Since I work in operations at the zoo and deal mainly with the public, I saw this as a great way to become more involved with our animals.

Bee Bootcamp was very helpful and fun! I liked how we started training in the classroom setting with a PowerPoint presentation. This initial information was a great first step for us amateur beekeepers to learn more about the biology and life of bees! I also really enjoyed the hive-side set-up training. I had never been this close to a hive before and the hands on training of how to service and inspect the hive was very informative.

The service and assistance that Beepods has provided the Milwaukee County Zoo has been wonderful. We call when we are unsure of what is going on in our new hive and they always help us out and even come to our site to instruct us on how to take care of it.

I like that the Hive Inspection Checklists are easy to follow and contain helpful information like the worker birth cycle, types of bees and pictures of what you are looking for in the comb.

Don Caithamer, Aquatic Reptile Center, Volunteer Co-chair

Milwaukee County Zoo


I thought it would be sting after sting after sting, but to my surprise I have yet to be stung. I am gaining more confidence as a beekeeper every time I inspect the hive. I have gained a new perspective and greater appreciation for the honey bee.

The training that Beepods provided was first rate and well thought out. It was very clear from the start that this was more than a just a job to Beepods, it was a passion. Their willingness to assist in our first few inspections was greatly appreciated. It’s one thing to sit in a classroom, but to be hands-on while conducting our inspections was priceless. The few times I have had a question, I received a reply within hours.


Bee Bootcamp at Milwaukee County Zoo

Bee Installation at Milwaukee County Zoo