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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 12th year of beekeeping in April 2017. Now there are almost 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Monday, May 09, 2016

Where do Bees and Babies Come From?

Today I spent my morning giving a presentation on bees and beekeeping to the second-grade classes at Chestnut Elementary School in Dunwoody, Georgia. The kids were adorable and listened with open mouths when I told them all about the bees and the beehive. I took an observation hive with me and after hard looking, at the very end, one of the students found the queen on the frame for all to see.

I'm explaining to them the jobs of the bees in the hive. I tell them that the queen bee is an egg-laying machine and that she lays eggs all day long. I also tell them that in the dark, she knows when it's the longest day of the year on June 21, and at that point begins to slow her egg-laying down until the shortest day on December 21. Sometimes by the winter solstice, she may have ceased laying eggs altogether. But that date is also the marker for when she begins to increase her egg laying to build up the population for spring.

I explain that the bees in the hive take care of the queen - they feed her, they groom her, and, ...wait for it..., they carry out her poop! Their eyes get big for a second and then they start laughing.

Then I turn to the drone. I ask them if they know what a couch potato is? They all laugh and say yes.

I tell them that the drone is the couch potato of the beehive. They've all seen The Bee Movie and I tell them that it's all wrong. The boy bees don't do any of the work - they just get fed by the girl bees.

"Just like in my house," a little girl says.

Then I say that the drone has one job to do and that is to fly up into the air every day to hang out with other drones in the drone congregation area. The drones all wait, I say, for a queen to fly through the drone congregation area and they try to give the queen a "special hug."*

"A special hug?" they question.

At this point, as the speaker, I am in a bit of a bind. These are seven and eight-year-olds. Have their parents told them about sex yet? Maybe some have, but surely some haven't, and it's not my job.

"Yes," I say, " A special hug.....and then the drone dies."

He dies?

They gasp! They don't get this. He dies?

One little girl says, "Probably the queen hugged him too hard."



*(thanks to Dean Stiglitz for the special hug explanation!)



2 comments:

  1. Such a cute story! What a great way to explain it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous4:18 PM

    They love it when you tell them that the bees hold in their poop for weeks on end in the winter!

    ReplyDelete

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