As the weather warms up and we spend more time outside, there are lots of ways that we can practice being bee-friendly this summer. Here are some suggestions that will help keep your family as busy as a bee this summer.
Visit a local bee keeper – Not only will you be able to buy some local honey and other bee products, but you can learn about how hives work and maybe even see one from a safe distance.
Go on a nature walk and identify the native wildflowers that honey bees use to collect pollen. Take pictures of all of the plants you think a honey bee would like as you walk. (Please, don’t pick the flowers – they need to be there for the honey bees to collect pollen from.)
Sit outside and listen carefully. Can you hear the buzz of a bee? How many types of insects can you spot in 15 minutes?
Choose bee friendly plants when you are planting your garden. Avoid using pesticides on the plants in your garden as they can have adverse effects on honey bees.
Put on some music and learn to dance like a honey bee. Did you know that honey bees use a special kind of waggle dance to let other bees know when they’ve found a source of pollen? You can watch a video of the dance on the National Geographic website and then try to waggle your body just like a bee!
Make a bee-oasis in your garden. Honey bees need water to keep the hive cool and prevent the beeswax from melting. Your honey bee oasis should be placed near the garden so that the honey bees can find it easily. You don’t need to get too fancy – a very effective bee oasis consists of a small bucket filled 3/4 of the way up with water, with 10-15 wine corks floating in it for bees to land on to get a drink. You will want to remember to change the water every week as you don’t want your honey bee oasis to turn into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Bees like water that is slightly slimy though, so don’t worry if a bit of a film builds up during the week, it just means that your oasis will be THE place to be for bees.
Go to the library and check out some books on bees. Here are a few titles to start you off
What If There Were No Bees?: A Book about the Grassland Ecosystem by Suzanne Slade.
DK Readers Level 1: Busy Buzzy Bee by Karen Wallace
Are You a Bee? by Judy Allen
Honey In A Hive by Anne Rockwell
The Magic School Bus Inside A Beehive by Joanna Cole
With all of these fun bee-friendly activities, it’s sure to be a bee-utiful summer!