Busy Little Bees

By Leah
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My daughter works at one of the local schools. The Kindergarten teacher there is a marvelous woman! As it is spring, she has planned some great activities for the children. They are hatching eggs in an incubator and butterflies from cocoons. She wanted to have a lesson about bees, so she called the local Bee Association to ask for someone to come out and give a talk to the class about harvesting honey.

Unfortunately, she was informed that they would not do that for any class under third grade. The opinion seems to be that children below third grade will not listen or absorb any information. The teacher was telling my daughter about this and she said, “Let me call my Momma.”

We are fairly new at bee keeping, even though my Grandfather kept several hives here years ago. We have one hive and are setting up another one in preparation for the usual spring splitting of the hive. Every year new queens are born. Sometimes the new queen will kill the old queen and take over the hive. But more often, the old queen leaves the hive and takes a large number of young bees with her. Often young queens will accompany her. Once the scout bees have found a suitable new place for a hive, a young queen will mate, kill the old queen, and help to create a new hive. Bee Keepers have various ways of managing the creation of a new hive, and this is what we hope to do in the near future. So we have an empty hive that I could take a section from.

I arrived at the school with our ‘bee bag’ full of suits and tools, and showed them how I got dressed up in order to rob a hive. Then I explained the structure of a colony box.

I showed them the most important tool, as far as I’m concerned. The smoker! The children thought putting bees to sleep with smoke was really cool!

Then, I lifted out a section of comb and let them look at it and touch it. As it has not yet been used, no one got sticky.

Then I showed them the best thing of all. I had brought a small jar of our honey and everyone got to have some on graham crackers.

The teacher provided me with a book all about a Scout Bee helping the hive to find new flowers for honey. The children were so well behaved. They listened, asked intelligent questions, and knew the answers to the questions I asked them in return. You could tell that the teacher had prepared them for my visit.

I haven’t had such a fun day in a very long time!