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Become a Honey Bee Guardian: an activity for children of all ages. Bee populations have been on the decline over the last few years. Many reasons for this have been speculated and it seems as if it is probably due to a number of causes. Regardless of the reasons the question remains what can you do about it?
*Please note: there are two parts to this activity.
Planting a garden: Part one
- a variety of flowers that bloom from early spring to late fall
- herbs of choice
- gardening notebook/journal
- paper (if using a binder) – copy paper, cardstock and/or 140 lb weight paper if using watercolors
- pencil and eraser
- art medium of choice (colored pencils, watercolors, crayons, or markers)
- page protectors
- Consider reading Bee & Me by Alison Jay (for ages 2-8).
- Planting flowers will increase the bee population around your home.“Plant flowers with open petals and upright stamens for easy access by our pollen-loving friends. Cosmos, zinnias and purple coneflowers are good examples. Choose flowers that are heavy pollen producers like salvia, penstemon and goldenrod. And pick colors that attract bees like blue salvia, yellow nasturtium, marigolds and sunflowers (“small steps” from the paleo mama).
- Build a bee hotel (see directions belows).
- Select a variety of herbs to plant in your garden or in containers.
- Use natural organic pesticides instead of toxic chemicals.
- Document (either write and/or draw) the types of flowers planted and the organic pesticides used.
- Place the page(s) in a protector when finished and include them in the garden notebook/journal.
Of course honey bees are not the only bees that do pollination. The following video from the UK illustrates this.
The following video expands on ways to help the bees in your garden.
As you can see from the last video another way to help solitary bees is to build a bee hotel.
Making a bee hotel: Part two
*Safety disclaimer: Please make sure children are supervised if old enough to do any drilling and wear proper safety equipment such as safety glasses. Have an adult do drilling for younger children.
- block of wood (scrap lumber that is not treated or logs of firewood work great)
- drill (If you don’t have woodworking tools this may be a great opportunity to reach out to a senior member of your community who does – fresh baked cookies and raking of leaves can get a lot of holes drilled.)
- drill bits ranging from 3mm to 10mm (1/8 inch to 3/8 inch)
- Drill holes into one side of the wood as deep as they will go without going through. Drill a variety of sizes for different species of bees.
- Once completed set the hotel solidly with the openings facing the winter sun (south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere.
- For more information visit The Pollinator Garden and read more. Also browse the Pinterest board below for other ideas for a bee hotel.
If you would like to learn more about research to help our declining bee population watch the following video.