By Sarrah Peters
About 75 children from Glencoe Elementary and John S. Jones Elementary Schools learned about honey bees on Monday, July 6 in honor of the 3rd Annual Honey Bee Awareness Day.
The children participated in the honey bee program as part of the schools’ summer camps.
The children first learned about why honey bees are important. Honey Bees are important to society because they pollinate the majority of crops and other plants.
According to Bush Dixon, Alternative Education and Community Services Director, it is estimated that “if honey bees are gone, humans could only live up to four years.”
Next the children learned about how beekeeper hives are set up, and what different bees do in the hive.
Hives start with 5,000 to 8,000 bees in a bottom box, which is not
harvested for honey. The bees use the “hive box” to raise more bees, which is the entire purpose of the honey-making process. More, slightly smaller boxes are added to this box. A hive typically contains 40,000 to 60,000 bees on average.
There are three types of bees: worker, drones and queen bees. Worker bees are female and have stingers; drones are males and cannot sting, not that the bees want to.
“Bees aren’t interested in stinging because it kills them,” said Dixon.
Queen bees live much longer than the 42 day life cycle of a normal bee. Queens can live up to three years and lay about 1,000 eggs a day.
Next the children watched a demonstration of the honey extraction process.
In order to retrieve the combs that honey is stored in, a beekeeper must don a protective suit and confuse the bees with smoke to get into the hives. Smoke confuses bees because it makes it hard for bees to communicate with pheromones.
After watching how the combs are opened with hot knifes and put through an extractor, students had a chance to taste the honey combs and fresh honey.