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Introduction to Honeybees 101

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Lots of buzzing bees! We can tell from this and vacated cells that since getting them many new bees have been born!
Last week I had the opportunity to give a presentation for Tabby’s preschool about honeybees. I happen to love standing up in front of people and talking about stuff, and have done hundreds of things in front of preschoolers, so I was really looking forward to it. Of course, Paul is the one with the bee knowledge, but he helped me flesh out my outline.  I brought in some props-the smoker, gloves, the prying tool, and one of the frames.  I also had honey, Burt’s Bees lip balm, and 8×10 photos I had taken the day before.  I can’t talk about bees around kids without doing my all time favorite fingerplay, “Here is the Beehive.”  I also taught them a song, which Clark had taught me the day before, as his class learned it during their recent butterfly unit. To the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes you can learn the parts of an insect: Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen, (repeat), Eyes, 6 legs, antennae, and wings; head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen! They loved that.

I went over who lives in the hive and what they do, and how the bees make honey. My favorite factoid that I shared is this: in its lifetime a single bee can make….1/12 tsp of honey. Gasp! Now look at a bottle of honey and think about how many thousands of bees had to fill tiny little cells to make it all. Also, honey is the only natural food that will never spoil.  Bees can fly up to 5 miles away from their hive to visit flowers and gather nectar and pollen. Bees have an incredibly sophisticated language-dances they do to communicate all kinds of information to each other. How thrilled were Paul and I when we were examining the bees to see one wiggling his rear end in a communicative dance?
The slightly blurry bee in the center is wigging its bottom, doing a bee dance!

The capped cells are where baby bees are growing. Check out this larval baby bee (it’s the little white thing):
The little white thing in the center of the cell just to the left of center is a larval baby bee. (ew)

And this raised, dark yellow, cell is where a queen bee is growing. This was alarming to Paul as it could mean they are going to swarm, but he did a little research and found out it’s ok.
Lots of buzzing bees! We can tell from this and vacated cells that since getting them many new bees have been born!

In this picture you can see cells with honey (shiny) and pollen (dark yellow), as well as the capped cells. I think the kids enjoyed it and hopefully they learned a little bit about bees and their importance.  If nothing else, hopefully I taught them to not try to kill them!
I didn’t have this picture to share with the children as I just took it today, but I’m pretty excited about it as it makes it seem even more a reality that our bees are doing what they ought to do.  Our rhododendron is currently blooming and when in bloom it is always abuzz with bumblebees.  Today I saw several honeybees visiting the flowers and their legs were simply loaded with pollen.
The bees are buzzin' in the trees to make some honey just for me
How wonderful to look at our own flowers and know that those are our bees on them!

It’s a really fascinating process and I’m so glad Paul got us into this!

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About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

2 responses »

  1. hope you get some yummy honey soon too! xxxxxxx

    Reply
  2. That fun fact about the 1/12 tsp is blowing my mind!!!

    Reply

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