Our native bees and beehive
What an absolute privilege it has been to have the native stingless bees at Kornmehl. We are learning more about the importance of their existence and just how precious, fragile and special these creatures are. The children have gained a real insight into the process and happenings in and around a hive.
Australia’s own native honeybees are tiny (3-5 mm), black and stingless! Inside their resinous nest are a queen, males, and hundreds or even thousands of worker bees. The stingless bees are the only native bees currently available for sale in Australia. Beekeepers transfer the nests into small hive boxes and can propagate the nests by splitting. These hives can be used for honey production and crop pollination.
We have noticed the children are showing a lot of curiosity in our stingless bee hive lately. They noticed that with the warm weather, the bees are spending a lot of their time out of the hive. The children are also wondering what is happening inside the hive and if the bees had made any honey yet.
We noticed some of the children poking their fingers or sticks in the beehive hole. We acknowledge and appreciate the children’s interest and curiosity, however, we felt we needed to address the impact that their actions could have on the bees. We showed the children a short video on native bees and how to look after the colonies.
We engaged in dialogue about our bees in the Pre-school and ways to respect and look after them:
Alex: Something happens when we stand close to the bee hive…
Daniel: They come to you.
Finn: They stick to your clothes.
Penny: They go on your hair.
Alex: And what do you think happens when you try to get them away from you?
Neveau: It is killing them.
We discussed how to observe them without hurting or killing them:
Alice: You can watch them from the side or far.
Daniel: We care about the bees and the earth because bees make honey.
Finn: If bees weren’t alive, we wouldn’t have honey.
Arlo: If there were no bees in this world, something different will happen. The ecosystem won’t be balanced, and the flowers will be dead.
Penny: Honey wouldn’t be a thing.
Daniel: If there were no bees, mother nature can’t exist.
Neveau: Different bees make different honey, and they need different flowers.
Abby: You care about the land; you must be careful with the bees.
We were very lucky to acquire a microscope you can attach to an iPad camera to take photos. We took some close-up photos of the bees in the beehive. The native bees are very small, black and look like a fruit fly. If you look closely at the bees, you can see them carrying pollen into the hive and others exiting without the pollen as they go on a search for more. The children have learnt to feel comfortable around the bees and how to respect and care for these precious creatures. They have learnt the process around pollination and how they support the growth in our veggie and herb garden.
On Thursday, Gavin Smith, a registered bee man and the person who helped us establish our bee hive a year ago, came back to Pre-school to split our hive in front of the children. It was fascinating to watch him do this.
You can only split a hive once a year. Splitting is generally done as soon as the days start warming up – October onward till around March – April. You can only split a native bee hive once a year, otherwise the colony halves will be too small and they will fail as a result. Worker bees within colonies have been known to live for about 161 days, with the oldest bee living for 240 days.
What is a mitzvah?
Our Pre-schoolers certainly know…
Daisy: Something that you do that is nice and kind.
Etta: When people are poor, and they live on the street, and you see them you give them money and you don’t want them to lose their money.
Jaimee: When somebody is riding a bicycle and that person falls and hurts their leg and you help them.
Levy: It means something to do to be nice and caring.
Adrienne: When someone hurts themselves you need to give them money and a band aid.
We wish a very happy birthday to Rafi Silvera (5), Uriel Stein (5), Justine Robertson and Terry Aizen. We hope you all had a special day.