Saturday, May 4, 2013

Busy Bees

Our exploration of bees started by reading the story of Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree by A.A. Milne.

As Pooh said in the story:

"That buzzing noise means something. Now, the only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you are... a bee! And the only reason for being a bee is to make honey. And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it."

Many of us are like Pooh, the extent of our knowledge of bees is that they make honey.
But over the past week, our class has learned a lot more about those buzzing creatures.  

The majority of what we learned came from Lisa and Jamie at the Ypsilanti Food 
Co-op.  Their "Honey Project" provides a very local source of honey: the hives are right next to the Co-op.  

Before we went to see the hives, we learned some basic facts about honey bees, through coloring books provided to us by the Co-op and Christine Hume, Juna's mother.  This gave us a great knowledge base for what we saw when we got to the Co-op.  At the Co-op, Lisa and Jamie provided us with a wealth of hands-on-experience.  We got to hold, touch and smell, honeycombs and  beeswax, try on bee keepers' (or apiarist) veils, and most importantly, taste the honey.


At the hives, we saw worker bees coming in and out, some with pollen and some with nectar for the hive.  They passed  these products off to younger worker bees.  Your child should be able to tell you more about the various roles of the bees, and what the bees do with the pollen and nectar once it is brought to the hives.
An added bonus, we got to see two other kinds of bees on our trip.  
Carpenter bees (photo on the left) were flying around us while we were at the picnic table but we didn't have to worry because we learned they do not have stingers.  By the hives we found mason bees (right) flying in and out of small holes in the wall.  Lisa was not 
sure if mason bees have stingers.  If your child is still wondering about this, click here for the answer.

A huge thank you to Lisa and Jamie for sharing their bees and knowledge with us.  And to Juna's parents for getting us in contact with our local apiarists.

Below is this weeks poem and guess what it is about?

The Hive 
by Jo Shapcott

The colony grew in my body all that summer. 
The gaps between my bones filled 
with honeycomb and my chest 
vibrated and hummed. I knew
the brood was healthy, because 
the pheromones sang through the hive 
and the queen laid a good 
two thousand eggs a day. 
I smelled of bee bread and royal jelly, 
my nails shone with propolis. 
I spent my days freeing bees from my hair, 
and planting clover and bee sage and 
woundwort and teasel and borage. I was a queendom unto myself.

No comments: