Diary of a Community Orchard 16/5/18: The Wonder of Bees

There was a buzz in the Orchard as Y5 Farmilo pupils arrived to learn about natures pollinators, the bees.

Some time was spent learning about the different kinds within a hive, the queen, drones and workers and what their roles were within the hive. Then the various types of cells within a hive frame were explored, including capped and uncapped honey, pollen, capped and uncapped brood (workers and drones), and spotting queen cells. Some frames from the old hive were able to be passed around so the difference between foundation and fully drawn frames could be seen.

We discussed what would happen to a hive if queen cells were allowed to hatch, which is bad news if you want to keep your bees – they swarm and buzz off elsewhere!

Then the class split up. Some would take part in a bee identification survey, going around the orchard trying to ID and count the different kinds of bees we have (red tailed, buff tailed, white tailed and many others). Given the day was quite cool, overcast and windy, we knew there wouldn’t be many out, so are going to do this again another, more sunny day and do a comparison of the data.

Six of us suited up and were able to go and explore the hives very close up indeed! This opportunity will be extended in further visits for other class members to take part in, it’s just something which cannot be rushed as slow movements around bees are what’s required to stop them getting a bit hacked off with us opening their home up.

We were able to spot the queen bee, check for queen cells, and thanks to the viewing window, give non-suited up students a really close up look at the cells from the other side of the glass.

All in a great hands-on experience for all and lots of positive learning and inspiration going on. It’s not every day one gets to go into a beehive and remain safe from stings.

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