The possibilities are endless when it comes to the different ways children can learn with bees. And while education is invaluable, the knowledge you can teach with bees extends far beyond classroom walls – or virtual or home-based classrooms, for that matter. Bees lead complex lives and demonstrate valuable qualities and characteristics that humans can not only admire but aspire to. Today, we’re going to talk about five life lessons you can teach your kids with bees.
Sustainability is important to us at Beepods. It’s a way of life and a cornerstone of our beekeeping philosophy. Bees, themselves, lead a very sustainable existence. By studying and talking about bees, kids (and adults!) can learn a lot about meeting our needs while helping future generations.
Bees live sustainably across all areas of their remarkable, yet short, lives. When it comes to resources, they efficiently take care of their colony while ensuring its longevity. Honey bees spend a lot of time and energy finding food, preparing it, and storing it. They take measures to protect their food stores and ensure there will be enough available not just to meet their present needs but to support their colony into the spring. From kicking out their honey-hungry drones who might deplete their resources come winter to defending their hive against intruders and pests, bees protect the future of their colony to no end.
Observing and learning about how bees go about planning for the future provides a living example of how important sustainability is for kids. With a Beepods Lab membership, you can access various videos and lesson plans about how bees make and store food. They serve as great discussion points for conversations with kids about the importance of sustainability.
A honey bee colony is one of the most remarkable examples of teamwork you’ll find in nature. Every bee has a specific role with responsibilities that are vital to their colony’s success. Working together, they strengthen and grow the hive. Learning the value of working together is beneficial to kids of all ages, and examining bees is a great place to start.
Workers, drones, and queens each complete essential tasks for their colony. Workers provide food and build the hive, the queen lays eggs, and drones go out and perpetuate the colony’s legacy. Every bee knows their job and where they’re supposed to be at any given time. And when the colony’s needs change, worker bees shift gears and take on new responsibilities.
Honey bees’ impressive teamwork can be seen right inside the hive. If you have a Beepod Vented Top Bar Hive, kids get a front-row seat to the inner workings of the hive through its windows. They can see bees building comb, storing food, taking care of brood, and working together to help the colony grow and thrive.
Having the confidence and courage to pursue the things you want is important to creating success in life, whatever that might look like for you. Honeybees know what it takes to get the job done, and not much stands in their way when they’re on a mission. Maybe kids shouldn’t go stinging someone who stands between them and a goal, but there’s much to be learned from bees about determination!
Bees start work at whatever their role in their colony as soon as they hatch. When foragers head out to gather resources, they dutifully collect the nectar, pollen, and resin the hive needs to thrive. If the hive is damaged, bees jump on the task at hand and work tirelessly until repairs are done. They protect their hive from predators and threats and risk their lives to guard their fellow bees and their resources. Drones sacrifice themselves to perpetuate their colony! When bees have a job to do, they strive to accomplish their goal no matter what.
Watching how bees react, respond, and diligently perform their duties first-hand with a Beepod is the best way for kids to see how purposeful bees are in their work. Pair live observations with our lesson plan, The Three Types of Honey Bees, in Beepods Lab. You can use the lesson plan to discuss the different roles honey bees have and the importance of their determined contributions to their colony’s success.
Learning how to be resourceful is a life lesson that serves kids well in their youth and as they grow into adulthood. Knowing how to use what you have helps kids be creative, productive, self-sufficient, and responsible. And they can witness extraordinary examples of resourcefulness inside a beehive.
A prime example of how resourceful bees are is how they construct comb and its multiple functions within the hive. Bees’ trademark hexagon cells are stronger and more efficient than any other shape. And within those cells, bees raise brood and prepare and store all of their colony’s food.
Plus, when bees are building comb, they use every possible inch of space. Bees will fill any space less than ¼ inch with propolis and any space larger than ⅜ inch with comb. They’ll allow a space between ⅜ inch and ¼ inch (Bee Space) to go unused, and that’s it! Bees make the most of what they have.
You can check out the Analyzing Comb Contents video in Beepods Lab to show kids all the different ways bees utilize their exceptional comb.
We don’t call them “busy bees” for nothing. Bees certainly accomplish a whole lot in their short lives. But they also know when it’s time to rest and recharge. We want kids to work hard for what they want. However, we want them to learn to take the time needed to take care of themselves, too.
Bees need between five and eight hours of rest every day. Without that rest, research shows their work suffers. Bees who don’t get sufficient sleep might even lose their way when returning home from foraging! Just like people, if bees don’t get the rest they need, they’re not their best selves.
So while kids can learn about dedication and hard work from bees, the fact that such a busy species takes the time to rest and recharge is a valuable life lesson, too.
With all of the educational opportunities you can explore with bees, it’s important to remember the life lessons you can teach your kids with bees, too. Though bees’ extraordinary lives are short and small in scale, the wisdom they provide can create vast and positive impacts on the lives of children who learn about them.