About bees + a lesson

The one thing about homeschooling that we believe in being important, is to let our kids decide what they want to learn.  Most days we are learning because we are living our days, and we see the world surrounding us as our classroom.

Lucas made this drawing of the bee.

For instance, our bees. Yes! Our bees! We see them flying in and out of their hives, each day, all day long.  We go and check their hives every day, few times a day.  We talked about them every day.  We are breathing bees stories from everywhere seems like.

This was inspired by Mark’s swarm catching this spring.

This past week we went camping and on our way back home we stopped to buy honey from The Honey Man. We talked for a while and he told us his son was the beekeeper and  when he had started his first two hives died with the freezing winter.  And now he has 1,500 hives.

But last month after moving his hives to an almond farm in California, 500 of his hives died.  They think it was because the farm owner had used too harsh of a fertilizer that reached the flowers of the trees as well, and consequently affected the bees.

As we get back in the car and we told Siena and Lucas (who were waiting for us) this story, she asked “Is it CCD?” (Colony Collapse Disorder) Well?  We haven’t talked a lot about CCD besides reading this book that explains it very well.  But it was funny to hear my 10-year old from the back seat, bring up CCD as a topic of conversation.

I think it is something she’s been thinking about, as we’ve seen our one hive struggle through the last month or so.  We were seeing them decline in number of bees and didn’t see many worker bees in and out of the hive.  We were worried.  The last week, we’ve seen them do a test flight each day, and we think the colony is getting bigger.  We are watching them, and we are hoping for a healthier hive.

So, when we found this project in this book we checked out from the library last month, Siena wanted to make it right away.  It explained clearly how to do it, but it didn’t have the template for the hexagon to build ‘the comb.’

So I looked online.  I printed out a sample, copied them into card stock paper, cut them out, glued them and painted them.

After Siena had finished all five of them, we tried to put them together, but it didn’t work out.  It took me a minute to figure out why, until we counted the sides of our ‘hexagon’ box I had copied from the internet sample.  Well? It had eight sides!  That’s an octagon, NOT an hexagon!

Well? Lesson #1, as Siena and I learned this way.  No matter what the online template it’s called, ALWAYS count the sides first before making your project.  Not everything that the internet says it’s true! (lesson #2.)

We printed a new pattern (now, a real hexagon) and made the comb again.

Five hexagon cells.

Now, matching perfectly.  Glue them together and wait for it to dry.

Make bees for your hive.

It doesn’t have to be a swarm, a few will do with your new bee colony.

Your new bee colony is done.  You have a new hive!


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