Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kid Friendly Honeybee Presentation

This year to help fill in the gaps while Chad went back to school and did his study abroad I took a job across the street working in the after school program. My boss asked me to talk about beekeeping. I put together some slides and information for the kids. Later we played a jeopardy type game with bee and honey facts, a guess how many Honeycombs in the jar game, and ate honeybee cupcakes. I also brought in my bee equipment, gloves, veil, some comb with pollen in it that I had scraped off the roof of my hive, a drone frame full of capped brood, larva, and eggs, and an empty frame for the kids to look at. I didn't quite get through all the info, but here's what I came up with. 

So these hives are typical examples of what a beehive might look like. To me they look somewhat like a dresser drawer. This kind of hive consists of a bottom board, brood boxes, queen excluders, honey supers, and a top cover.

A natural hive might look something like this.

When you first get your bees they come in a cage like these. 

The challenge is to coax the bees out of their cage by shaking them into the open hive.

The queen comes in her own little cage. The cork is removed and a candy stopper is placed in the opening giving the bees a chance to get used to their new queen.

This is a picture of a marked queen. Notice the lengthy body.

There is only one queen bee per hive. She lives anywhere between 3 to 5 years. A virgin queen bee takes a mating flight just once. She will mate with several drones and remain fertile for life. She will then lay about 2000 eggs per day. Fertilized eggs become worker bees whereas unfertilized eggs become drones. When a queen bee dies or becomes weak, the worker bees will replace her by feeding royal jelly to a few larva. Here is a diagram of the stages of a baby bee 

All worker bees are female. It takes 21 days from egg to emergence and another 21 days of in house chores to going out and foraging nectar, water, and pollen. It's chores include: housekeeper, nursemaid, construction worker, grocer, undertaker, guard and finally forager. In this picture you can see a pollen sack on the bee's hind leg. A worker bee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers on each foraging trip. A honeybee must tap two million flowers to make just one pound of honey! A hive of foraging bees will travel over 55,000 miles combined to bring you one pound of honey! It would take just one ounce of honey to fuel a trip around the world. Wow! that's pretty powerful stuff! During the Summer a worker bee only lives about 6 weeks long. They literally work themselves to death. A winter bee can live between 4 and 9 months, clustering in a tight pack and keeping the internal temperature at 93 degrees no matter how cold it is outside.

Pollen can be yellow, brown, orange, red, or even blue depending on what kind of flowers the bees have been foraging on. 

Drones are the larger bodied, bigger eyed, male bees. The hive tolerates 300 to 3000 drones for the sole purpose of mating with a new queen should the need arrive. Once autumn arrives they are quickly kicked out of the hive and no longer tolerated. 

Frames contain brood, honey and pollen in various stages. 

In this picture you can see both uncapped larva and eggs.

Here is a frame from one of my hives that is just starting out. What wonderful industrious bees!

 My little helper Olivia

Here's how the cupcakes turned out. Admittedly I'm not the best at bee decorating, but it was fun anyhow! I used mini marshmallows for the wings, and dove chocolate covered almonds for the bee bodies. I used the same yellow frosting with a tiny frosting tip to make my bee stripes.

I'll add my trivia questions soon....!

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