The Science of Bee-Keeping :: Bee Anatomy

We are fascinated with bees and after our experience at extracting honey earlier this week (The Science of Bee-Keeping :: A Visit with an Apiculturalist), the kids have wanted to learn more about bee anatomy and the ecological importance of bees. We began our indepth exploration by reading pages – in Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study.  Thereafter, I pulled out a number of field guides and additional reference materials that showed illustrations and/or photographs of honey bees. They were not in the mood to draw – but I insisted that they draw at least two components and to include proper labels.

Our nature journal entries for Apis mellifera, L.

Later that evening we enjoyed the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees, which was available as an instant play feature on Netflix. Days later, I asked the kids to write a summary or narration of what they had learned.  I was impressed with the facts they were able to recall.

Sweetie wrote: “One honey bee can makes in it’s whole lifetime (which is about 2 weeks) only 1 teaspoon of honey).  Only 10% of bees are honey bees.  The queen bee has a smooth stinger so that lets the queen sting you as many times as she wants. A drone bee (male) has no stinger.  The worker bees (females) have barbs on their stingers.  They can only sting once and then they die because the stinger gets stuck in your skin and it pulls out a part of their abdomen.  In a bee’s lifetime, they can fly two times around the world.”

Buddy wrote:  “One bee can make a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime!  A nest (one colony) can hold over 1,000,000 honey bees.”


Submitted to the Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenges November Carnival.

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

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