We have a lot of bees in our area thanks to the lush greenery around, because of which professionals are called to our apartment every few months to remove bee hives. This removal usually happens at night and when we opened the balcony doors the next morning, we saw a hundred dead bees on the floor. What a terrible sight!
Obviously, V wanted to know what these magical creatures were and why they had to be driven away. The first step of course, was to establish if this was an insect or a bird. We did that by observation using a magnifying glass, and counting it’s legs, noticing it’s wings, feelers and were lucky to see the stinger in quite a few. Once we knew this was an insect, we figured that it probably stung or bit people. That is why they had to be driven away. But where did such a large number of bees come from!? Just how many bees could a hive accommodate?
She knew all about honey being used when she had a cold. A few akkas in the park told her that bees get honey from flowers. They fly around flowers, collect it from the centre of the flower.
We went on to research about bees, from some of our favourite books. Imagine V’s surprise when she learnt that there are more than a hundred bees in a hive (If you haven’t figured out already, hundred is the largest number she knows )! Even more surprising was that there were queen bees and worker bees. The structure of the hive is pretty terrific, too!
It was also fascinating to learn that the bees collect honey as food to get through the winters, ( much like the ants from the ant and the grasshopper, V noted). During the hot summers, the bees flap their wings like a fan to cool the hive; and during winter, the bees huddle together (a lot like penguins) with the queen bee in the middle, to keep warm.
V was pretty stoked to read that the stinger is present on the bee’s bum and during our role plays, she often becomes a honey bee just to sting people with her bottom. We understood that bees sting only when threatened, much like V sometimes gets aggressive or possessive about her toys and books. It was super cool to know that because bees do not have mouths to talk like us, they rub their knees and dance to communicate with each other. V’s biggest dream now, is to observe two bees “talk” to each other.
V felt it was a little unfair about the whole division of labour thing- Why does the queen only have to lay eggs, she asked. What if the queen wanted to do dusting or visit flowers today? She doesn’t agree yet that it is a productive approach. But then, we have a lot more to discover, learn and re-organise her opinions.
She was sad to learn that bees are needed to make food ( she hasn’t thought about the exact how yet). It is like the doors to a fascinating world has opened up suddenly- how those tiny insects we fear and sometimes squash, have a whole, beautiful and interesting life of their own. Yes, yes, all this came from the book. The Bee book and Dancing Bees by Tulika books are pretty great for introducing these concepts to a toddler.
Appa suggested that we can create our own beehive using bamboo sticks and grow a small bee colony, and V is waiting for school to close, to start this summer project with him! We also plan to visit the nearby bee farm over summer and hope to see the life cycle of a bee in person, real soon.
This is a post written for the #BlogchatterA2Z . You can read my previous post here.