This week more kids worked on their beehives and a group helped tuck some seeds into our new Urban Meadow garden beds.
One of the last groups of kids to work on bees this week had a lot of questions about the queen bee. The were very interested in the fact that worker bees only live for about 30 days, while the queen can live for 2 -3 years. One child asked "But what if the queen dies?" We went on to discuss how a new queen is made. When a queen stops laying eggs, or the hive gets too big and needs to split into two, or the other worker bees sense that the queen is getting too old, they start to nurture a few larvae to become Queens by feeding them royal jelly. Queen cells/larvae in Royal Jelly:
Many kids have chosen to represent the queen in their personal honeycomb projects they've taken home. We also started making a list of all of the jobs the worker bees have. In addition to collecting pollen, and nectar to make honey, they protect the hive's entrance, produce the wax to build the comb, feed the larvae, clean the hive of debris and dead bee bodies, feed and clean the queen as she lays eggs non-stop, fan the hive with their wings to both condense the nectar into honey and cool the hive and communicate with each other about the location of blooming flowers and the health of the queen. It's no wonder these worker's have such short lives.
Another group of purple room kids also worked hard to plant some seeds in our new RHP garden beds. If it's going to rain for the next week, it might as well be watering our new seeds. We planted carrots, beets, peas, string beans, kale, cilantro and dill. Then we made a map of what we planted so we wouldn't forget what we did.