Daily Activity 20: Hives

April 17, 2020

This week’s theme:

The Mysteries of Animal Habitats

Fact of the day:

A honeybee hive can contain up to 50,000 bees.

Resources list:

Youtube; straight everyday household objects in sets of 6; sugar and water, paper or card, scissors; A4 paper, stapler or glue.

Activity 1:

Bees return to their hives to communicate to the other bees in their colony about the location of new food sources. Watch this video to see the Waggle Dance that the bees use to communicate this information. Try creating your own waggle dance by shaking your bum in the direction of your food source – this may be your kitchen!. If your food is far away you’ll have to waggle for longer, but if you’re nearer the kitchen you’ll waggle less.

Activity 2:

Within the hive is one queen bee, thousands of female worker bees and hundreds of male drone bees. A honeybee hive is like a busy city always full of activity and work. Listen to ‘Flight of the Bumblebees’. How does the music make you feel? From the music do you think bees go about their work slowly, or quickly? Are the bees busy or lazy? Does it sound like one bee, or a swarm of bees?

Activity 3:

Within the hive, bees make honeycomb which is formed from hundreds of hexagons packed neatly together like this. Perfectly packed hexagons hold the most amount of honey using the smallest amount of building materials (wax) and the least amount of effort from the bees. Honeycomb cells store honey and are also used to store nectar, pollen, and water, as well as a nursery for larvae. Hexagons are a 6 sided shape; find 6 objects of the same size (6 teaspoons, 6 felt tips, 6 book spines, 6 lollypop sticks, 6 cotton buds, 6 toothpicks, 6 socks, etc) and make some different sized hexagons. What’s the largest hexagon you can make, what’s the smallest?

Activity 4:

Bees make honey (which is their food) by visiting flowers and collecting nectar from the blossom, they suck it out with their tongues. When they have a full load, they fly back to the hive. The nectar is passed from bee to bee, each bee chewing the nectar until it gradually turns into honey. Then the bees store it in honeycomb cells. The honey is still a bit wet, so the bees fan it with their wings to make it dry out and become more sticky. When it’s ready, they seal the cell with a wax lid to keep it clean. You can see the process here.

Try lapping up nectar (made from sugar dissolved in water) using only your tongue. You could make a flower for your nectar to go in the center of like this, or this.

Have a honey taste-test if you have some at home. Do you like the taste? Make 2 paper fans to fan or waft your honey with first!

Add-on Activity:

If you have any toilet roll tubes left, you could make a honeycomb game, scoring different points (secretly written inside the tops of the tubes) whenever your tinfoil ‘bee’ ball enters the tube.