Buzz Bus: For School Kids, a Beehive on Wheels

Bee BusAndrew Cote Andrew Cote’s Bee Bus

When a bee buzzes in your window, you’ll all but crash your car to get it out. Not so with Andrew Cote: the beekeeper bought a school bus for the express purpose of filling it with bees.

The Bee Bus will be a mobile classroom for teaching kids about honeybees and beekeeping. “We’ve torn out the interior and we’re planning to build a Plexiglas room for the beehives inside the bus,” said Mr. Cote, who sells honey at neighborhood Greenmarkets and occasionally helps fight bee swarms on the Bowery.

With the bus, he’ll be able to bring the field trip to the school, which solves the problem of giving students access to his personal hives. “Most places that I keep my hives don’t have the correct insurance to cover 30 kids on a rooftop, so it’s difficult to bring school groups on tours,” Mr. Cote explained.

Mr. Cote is no stranger to working with students. Before keeping bees full time, he taught linguistics as a Fulbright Scholar in Moldova and English as a second language in various schools around Connecticut. He currently manages a permanent group of hives in the rooftop garden of York Prep School on the Upper West Side. The students can take beekeeping classes from Mr. Cote and the New York City Beekeepers Association.

Bee Bus in ConnecticutAndrew Cote The Bee Bus takes up doublewide parking
in Connecticut.

Before you get too excited, the bee bus isn’t quite ready for action. “I didn’t realize how expensive the bus would be,” said Mr. Cote. “We’re short on funding and I’m not very savvy at Kickstarter or any of those online fundraising campaigns.”

At the moment, the bee bus is “rusticating” in a doublewide parking space in Mr. Cote’s quaint neighborhood in Connecticut — which isn’t helping his mission. “I want to be able to bring the joys of beekeeping to students in Far Rockaway, Red Hook, Brownsville, The Bronx,” he said.