Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Practical Bee Class

By Sara:

At the end of last term, I took a survey of the students to see what kinds of practical skills they would be interested in learning about.  If the skills were something I am knowledgeable about and they fit into my practical class plans, I added them into the curriculum.

One skill the students were interested in was bee keeping.  I couldn't take them all out to look at bees without bee suits (just imagine that disaster), but I borrowed some equipment to show them and teach them about in class.  They had lots of good questions, like about how to get bees to move into a hive, how to know when honey is ready to be harvested, and about the differences between types of hives. 

Now, the bee suits I borrowed aren't the best quality, but they at least gave the students enough of the idea of the importance of making sure there are no holes where the zippers end, tucking their pants into their socks, and making sure their nose doesn't touch the net in front of their face.

It was not difficult finding volunteers to try the suits on and all the students immediately whipped out their phones to take pictures of these guys:


  1. How DO you get bees into your hive?

    1. Some people will "bait" the hive by rubbing the inside with beeswax so the bees are attracted to the smell and know it's a good place to live. Other people hang "catcher boxes" - almost like a small hive with just a few frames in it - in a forest at the time of year when bees swarm (new queens hatch and take some of the bees with them to start a new colony). Then, when bees move into the catcher box, you can take them back to your hive and transfer the frames from the catcher box into the hive. Another option is to find a swarm of bees hanging on a tree branch, shake them into a box/sheet, then transfer them into your hive.