We live next to a 100 acre forest. There are plenty of wild bees around the area and some build hives in balcony corners. Mean (and uninformed) as we are, we plunder their homes, smoke stun them inside and spray poison and kill them like they were unwelcome beasts of terror.
Anyway, we find dead bees in our balcony everyday and decided it was time to learn more about them and how we can coexist with them. In fact, we may not exist at all without them!
Bees are keystone species, meaning at the top of several food chains! Besides that, they are major pollinators for food sources! It is sad that we don’t understand this and consider them pests instead!
Now D is convinced they are our friends, not foes, and we need to protect them. Just like the whales!
Here’s a message he stuck to the door for hunters and killers of bees and other animals that may pass by or drop in. They can’t enter without signing in and agreeing to stop the brutal murder!
Some activities around bees:
Painted stone bees
Making hexagonal cells out of paper
Fingerprinting: Bee garden
Bees are very intelligent engineers. They construct honeycomb cells, hexagonal in shape to save space and taking compression factors into account. Below we compared the space efficiency of round shapes versus hexagons.
Potato printing of hexagonal cells on paper
Papier-mâché bee-hive. We cut paper using the paper cutting to get neat strips. Layering and drying took two days.
I made a bee in felt to decorate the wall. Talked about the exterior anatomy of the bee.
Putting i all together on display including books and crafts
A poster I found on the Internet to identify bees:
From the books and our journal:
Image from the web- anatomy of the bee
The highlight of our bee study was the field study with Mr Apoorva BV of the Hive Trust. Mr Apoorva is an engineer by education but his passion lies with bees and is a strong voice for nature conservation in Bangalore. He champions for the cause of the bees by holding conferences, speeches, conducting workshops, and helping folks like us with bee study. He encourages urban bee farming on rooftops or balconies. He has a bee box making factory too in the outskirts. He has own bee farm in several parts of the city which he cares for with gentle compassion as he would for a baby!
He was very kind to show us around his farm on a Sunday and we spent several wonderful hours with him talking about bees, farms, nature, the city and everything else in between. He had chock full of information on bee growing, their super powers, habits and habitats, their preferences and perks, the various species, local flora and fauna that affect them, their social skills, intricate dances, communication skills, family structure, their architectural skills, labour structure, lessons we can learn from them, different types of honey, their medicinal values and other uses, what we can do and should not do to protect bees in our area .. just about anything in fact!
This young man is the go to person in the country if you need to know about bees!
You c know more about him here:
Here are some of the pictures we took when we visited Mr Apoorva and his bee friends. (The videos are really wonderful but unfortunately not uploading).
In our daily conversation we peppered in some bee related phrases such as..
Make a beeline for [it]
Busy as a bee
Bee in the ointment/bonnet
Don’t stir a hornet’s nest
I will add additional books as I get hold of them as well another visit to Mr Apoorva’s farm in the busy bee seasons free a few months.