On Monday this week, we celebrated World Bee Day. We know that bees are a hugely important part of our world, but have we learnt enough about them and how to protect them?
In this current climate of their decline, it’s vital to shift the focus over to them and ensure we understand exactly what it is they do for us. So what do we know? We know that bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops – one third of the food we consume relies completely on bees and other pollinators to keep them thriving.
Aside from the honey that we love so much, another bee product that many of us use daily without realising, is beeswax. The obvious use is for candles, but it is also used for waterproofing, cosmetics, skincare, art, glue, food protection, sewing, sealing, tooth filling and even bone wax during surgery.
We tend to underestimate the significance of bees, which is why it’s vital to nurture this care and understanding, especially in children to ensure that the next generation will continue to help them thrive.
Our team is very keen on the Usborne question and answer book: ‘Why Do We Need Bees?’ which is filled with fascinating and useful information. What I love most, is the way it is accessible for different ages. The interactive lift-the-flap element is great for little readers, and the questions are perfect for young school-age children. It's an intriguing exploration into the natural world of bees.
Alongside this superb book, Usborne have published some ‘usborne minis’ which are adorable little spotter books on trees, birds, bugs and butterflies. They include miniature spotter charts in the back for keeping track of what you’ve seen – perfect for forest school, or any outdoor adventure.
DK also have an appealing selection of nature books for children, and hiding amongst the other interesting particulars about insects and flowers, are yet more wonderful details about bees.
Back in March we discussed nature books on the blog, and how important they are for children’s education - these titles follow on from that topic. Whilst bees are a hugely critical part of nature for us humans, looking at nature as a whole is essential too.
The Wonder of Trees is a stunning new book for school-age children. It’s hard to tell from a photograph, but it is a huge and beautiful thing. Not only that, but it also again touches upon bees alongside trees and other woodland animals.
Now that I’ve talked about some of our favourite books, I thought it would be fun to share a few curious facts about bees:
- Even though there are around 25,000 species of bee worldwide, there are only 7 species of honeybee.
- All worker honeybees are female, male (drones) do no work in the hive, their sole purpose is to fertilise a queen.
- An individual bee visits 100 or more flowers in a single foraging trip.
- During its lifetime, a single bee will collect enough nectar for one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
- The ‘buzz’ a bee makes is the sound of its wings, which beat up to 16,000 times per minute.
- A bumblebee with a full stomach is only 40 minutes from starvation.
If you’re an adult looking to learn more about bees, I’ve got lots of recommendations for you. However, today I will just touch on one in particular: A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson, which is all about the humble bumblebee. This book is a detailed exploration into the natural world of bees.