Life of a Bee

Life of a Bee

“Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

Outdoor education is an activity that many Camp Casey campers add to their itinerary.  Most use Casey’s outdoor education programs, but some, like Edmonds Holy Rosary School, had one of their own. They included an Edmonds apiarist (beekeeper) who talked about the relationship between humans and honeybees.

bee drawing used in a Casey outdoor ed program.

Most of us know that bees live in hives, but there is some debate about how bees navigate.  Many scientists believe its directly connected to the sun, while others think they use mental maps to find their way home in a similar way to birds and mammals.  These maps help them recognize landmarks and judge directions and distances.  Bees can travel hundreds of miles and still navigate their way home.

Many of us already know each hive contains one queen, but there are two other critical roles within the colony.  Drones are the male bees whose purpose is to mate with the queen.  The second role is workers who are all female and are the only bees most people will ever see flying around outside the hive.  Their purpose is to seek pollen and nectar, build and protect the colony, and clean and circulate the air in the hive by beating their wings.  An average worker bee will only produce about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey over her lifetime.  This is remarkable given the average lifespan of a bee is about two months. Think about the significance of each drop the next time you squeeze the honey out of a bottle.

How can you impact our relationship with bees?  A few simple changes to your home patios and gardens:

1.  Plant pollinator-friendly flowers.  A bee-friendly garden of flowers and herbs to forage can be a game-changer.

2.  Set out water in a small bird bath or rock that will collect rainwater.  Bees use water to regulate their temperature and help with digestion.

3.  Finally, use pesticides and insecticides that are not harmful to bees.

Looking to provide outdoor education as part of your retreat?  We offer many opportunities as part of our Youth Outdoor Education package.