Children + Bees = Lots of Fun

Posted on October 13, 2010 in Education | Short Link

Richard was recently in California visiting his daughter and her family. What started out as an idea to talk to his grandson Hayden’s class evolved into a presentation to the entire 1st grade (about 100 children) at Lilac School in Valley Center, California.

IMG_1723In teaching about the parts of a bee Richard asked who had been stung by a bee. Everyone raised their hand except one child. Having been stung many times, Richard shared his experience about how to best to handle bee stings. Only a small percentage of the population are seriously allergic to bees, but there seems to be a lot of fear about being stung. Richard often helps people to feel comfortable around bees and to realize that they are actually gentle and only defensive when threatened (true for the European Honeybees that we work with!)

richard spiegel first gradersThe first grade has been studying the natural world and insects in particular. Connecting the behavior of bees to geometry and science, Richard talked about bees and their communication through triangulation, performing the waggle dance.

Richard also assigned some homework! We use centrifugal force when spinning the honey out of the frames. Centrifugal force can be experienced at home by spinning in a circle with your arms hanging loose…they start to come up and out away from your body. Another fun home experiment is to set out a dish of honey and watch for the bees. First you will see one or two (the scouts!) and when more bees start to appear, you will know that they are doing the waggle dance and telling the other bees where to find the honey!

observation hiveThe observation hive is always a hit! Not able to bring a hive and bees from Hawaii, Richard borrowed the observation hive and bees from beekeeper and queen breeder Tom Glenn. Tom is breeding VSH (Varroa sensitive hygenic) queens, which we are all hoping is a long term solution to the varroa mite problem.

Posted by Andrea Dean.

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