LSE Bees Goes to School (to run a Bee Workshop!)

Over the years we’ve done a number of outreach events and enjoyed them all, but none so much as the one we did last month. Fairley House, a school for children with learning difficulties, recently invited us to run a workshop about Bees and the Environment. About 40 children aged 7-9 (Years 3 and 4) participated in the workshop: a very different target audience from what we usually have in our outreach events which are mostly for LSE students and staff.

We started with a short talk and Q&A session. The children were especially fascinated by the beekeeping equipment (smock, gloves, hive tools, smoker, some frames with real honeycomb) and had loads of questions, as you can see from all the raised hands in the photo below.


They asked the most unexpected and amusing questions we’ve ever encountered in a bee workshop: “My mum killed a bee, is that bad?” “There’s a bees’ nest on our balcony, what should we do??” and – an interesting non sequitur – “Have you ever seen a tarantula?”

After the talk, the children split up into groups and participated in a carousel of three activities (developed in collaboration with the school’s Geography teacher, Ms Longmore-Reid). The activities consisted of a quiz, a sequencing activity, and – the most popular one of all – a honey-tasting session.

The children appeared to enjoy the workshop as much as we did, and Ms Longmore-Reid wrote to us recently saying, “Even during parents evening this week, the parents mentioned how excited their children still are about the workshop. It was a real success!”

So a huge vote of thanks to her and the rest of the staff at Fairley House for the most enjoyable bee workshop we have ever done!

For those who missed the last hive visit of Michaelmas Term (Dec 8), here’s a quick summary:

  • The painted hive is doing well: Luke showed us dark granules on the bottom board which are discarded bits of wax from the bees’ refurbishment activities
  • The cedar hive has a resident spider! (No photos unfortunately but we will try to take one next time if she’s still around.)  She doesn’t pose a threat to the bees because she has somehow built her web in the insulating space between the double walls of our WBC hive. The hive has the beginnings of a varroa problem, so we gave it a light dose of treatment.
  • The white hive, which we treated for varroa last month, was very quiet even by winter standards. We gave it another light round of treatment and put the crown board right on top of the brood box, rather than over the super where it previously was, to reduce the size of the hive (if you’re not familiar with these terms, check out this diagram).
  • The nuc we built in the summer is doing really well (fingers crossed!) In all four hives, the bees have barely eaten any of the fondant, which is a good sign because it shows there’s enough of their own honey to go around.

Happy holidays, and see you in the new year!


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