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What's the Buzz in Second Grade

Did you know that if honey bees were not around, we would not have the types of fruits and vegetables that we have now?

They make up for 80% of all insect pollination. If it weren’t for honeybees and their pollinating, we would not get to eat oranges, apples, peaches, strawberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers or almonds… along with many other fruits and vegetables!

The 2nd grade students at Sandy Ridge were very lucky to learn about the honeybee and its life cycle from a real-life beekeeper from Ashville, North Carolina! Mr. McCormick brought a wooden hive that he once used for his bees. He showed us the frames inside and some had actual honey on them! The other frames he showed us were used for the honeybee eggs. Mr. McCormick also showed us the ‘hive tool’ he uses to pry open the sticky lid to the beehive in order to get to the honey. We got to see the “smoker” he uses to calm the bees before he opens the hive all the way. He put on a bee suit for us to see how it is used for protection against getting stung by the bees. He also brought in some bee’s wax from one of his colonies for us to touch and smell.

Did you know bees have two stomachs?

We learned that honeybees use one stomach to digest food just like humans do. The other stomach is used to make deliciously sweet honey.

Did you know that bees have jobs, just like humans do?

We learned that bees have many jobs within their colony. A colony is made up of one queen, a bunch of worker bees, and a few drone bees. The job of the queen is to lay the eggs in the cells of the hive and she is the only one that does this! She is the biggest bee in the hive. All of the worker bees are females. They start their life as nurse bees. Nurse bees take care of eggs laid by the queen. When a colony needs a new queen, the nurse bees choose a few eggs to feed a special mixture called “Royal Jelly.” This special food is what makes the queen bee different from the other bees in the colony. Other worker bees travel outside of the hive to collect nectar to bring back. If they find a good spot, they do a “waggle” dance to show the other bees where to go to find the sweet supply! Other worker bees act as guards. In the last phase of a bee’s life, it becomes a guard bee and defends the hive from predators. They do this by swarming and sometimes stinging their predators. The guard bee is willing to sting any threat because they don’t have much life. When a honeybee stings, it will die shortly after The Japanese hornet is their biggest natural predator. When the hornet tries to get into the hive, the whole colony (except the queen) swarms and cooks the hornet. The job of the drone is to mate with the queen. They do not have a stinger, and usually do not live long.

Did you know that bees have a preference for certain types of weather?

Bees live longer in the winter than they do in the summer. This is because they are very active in the summer, and in the winter they don’t go out as often. Bees don’t like the cold! The bees buzz to make the queen bee warmer. Bees can’t fly in rain. So during a rainy season, a beekeeper will give sugar water to the bees to help them make honey and survive until the rainy season is over.

As you can see, we learned a ton of interesting facts about the honey bee and its life. If you want to learn more about the honey bee, visit some of these websites below:


Written by: Mrs. Clemens' 2nd grade class. Edited by Mrs. Clemens
Posted: Apr 09, 2014 by Jeffery Aten

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