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MIsprouts Learn: The Business of Bees

Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener

My goal with this series is to make accessible material for parents who want to teach their kids about gardening from the ground up. These guides will consist of a short reading section about a gardening subject, followed by ideas for projects and experiments. These at-home projects will make the concepts more concrete for the kiddos! I hope they can be a source of fun for you and your family. 

Read aloud: Did you know that honeybees have jobs? There are three different types of bees in a honeybee hive, and each of them has a different job! The queen is in charge of laying eggs. The drone helps the queen lay eggs. The worker bees build the hive and look for food. Worker bees have an essential job in our gardens. Today we will be learning all about bees, the flowers they like best, and what they do for our gardens!

Flower Pollination

A worker bee’s job is to find food to help the hive make honey. Bees fly around from flower to flower, looking for flower nectar (juice) to eat. Then, they drink the nectar and bump up against the flower’s pollen. As the bees travel all around, they carry the pollen with them and transfer it to other flowers. This is called pollination. Pollination is the process that turns flowers into fruit! Other bugs pollinate, but bees are the busiest of them all!

bees

 

A Bee’s Favorite Food

Honeybees find nectar in all kinds of flowers! Some flowers have sweeter nectar than others, and so bees like them best! Can you guess which ones? Here are a few examples of flowers you can plant to attract more bees to the garden: Beebalm, asters, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, cosmos, goldenrod, sage, and snapdragons. Drinking nectar from fruit and veggie blossoms is one of the most important ways bees collect nectar for the hive! Planting a garden is one of the best things you can do to keep your local bee population happy and healthy.

bees

 

Honey

Honey is used as a backup food source for when their favorite flowers cannot be found. In colder places, honey helps bees survive the winter!  There are a handful of bees that can make honey in small amounts. Bumblebees and stingless bees are both capable of producing small amounts of honey, but honeybees are capable of making lots. So much that they cannot eat it all themselves! Luckily for us, honeybees don’t mind sharing their honey with us if we only take their leftovers! Beekeepers have to be very careful and get all dressed up in a protective suit to harvest honey. Here’s an awesome video of the honey harvesting process!

beehive

 

Project: Beehive Craft

You’ll Need:

empty toilet paper rolls

pencil

ruler

glue

scissors

yellow paper

black paper

black marker

Ask your kiddos what they learned while you follow this amazing tutorial. Fold the toilet paper rolls into hexagons and then cut them into multiple rings. Cover with yellow paper and glue the cells together. Make bees out of yellow paper to fit into the cells. Label the bees for every type of honeybee, making one the queen, one the drone, and the other worker bees.

This is an easy hands-on project for any age group. For more options for crafts and experiments for this lesson, follow our MIsprouts Pinterest page.

I hope this post was helpful! Please leave me some feedback in the comments on Facebook!

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Main sources:

SciShow Kids

MIgardener 

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