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1 Contents Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners Details Page Nos Introduction 4 Happy Insects 5 The Honey Bee 11 Life Cycle in Brief 13 Lesson Plan & Activities ~ K-3 14 Student Activity Comprehension and Q & A 30 About Solitary Bees 34 Stinging Insects ID Tips 36 Holly Honey Story 39 Insects are Beneficial 42 Body of the Bee Glossary 44 Body of the Bee Crossword 45 Honey Bee Life Stages Glossary 47 Lesson Plan & Activities Holly Honey Bee 48 What have you learned? 49 Lesson Plan & Activities ~ K-3 The Home of the Honey Bee 50 Jobs Bees Do 63 Honey Bee Facts 64 Student Activity 64 Honey Bees as Pollinators 73 Wordsearch 76 Lesson Plan & Activities ~ K-3 Honey Bee 77 Bees Revision 84 Labelling Activity 95 Matching Hives Activity 96 Wordsearch 97 Multiple Choice 98 Did You Know? 99 Wordsearch 101 Songs and Stories 102 Acrostic Poem 107 Types of Bees 108 Lesson Plan & Activities ~ K-3 What Bees Eat 112 Bee Riddles 124 Bee Poems and Proverbs 126 The Honey Bee Song & Lesson Idea 129 What s the Definition? Honey/Bee Terms 130 Honey/Bee Terms Crossword 136 Bee Courteous Bee Safe 137 The Pollinators 138 Honey Bee & Pollinators Lesson Plan 143 Fun Puzzles & Activities 148 Bee Games to Play (PE & Listening Skills) 159 Pollination Crossword 162 Bee Types Crossword 163 Nature Journal Entry & Drawing Page 164 Crafts 166 Writing Activities & Puzzles 169 Thematic Flash Cards 174 Bookmarks 178 Thematic Calendar Pieces 179 Concentration Game 189 How Many? Activity 187 Honeycomb Number Patterns 187 Bee Addition 192 Tic-Tac-Toe 197 Bee Words 199 Bee Hop 201 Name the Pictures 202 What Bees See Activity 203 Wordsearch 204 Answers 205 Thematic Days of the Week 211 Thematic Number Cards 214 Acknowledgements and Terms of Use 224 St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 2

2 For valuable information and more free ebooks visit St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 3

3 Introduction ONE can hardly believe that this small, ever busy creature each year gathers many million dollars worth of products for man to say nothing of its inestimable value on the farm and especially in the orchard, where it assists in carrying pollen from blossom to blossom. It is of far greater value to man as a carrier of pollen than it is as a honey gatherer, even though the produce from a strong colony of bees is worth hundreds of dollars a year. I was absolutely fascinated while researching this topic of these intelligent, versatile and highly sensitive creatures and have finally settled on presenting the information in language that can be geared towards older or younger students. The language and terminology as is is thus suitable for around Grades 4 and 5. With discussion and explanation it is suitable for younger learners. Older learners will be able to study the information and complete the activities with a minimum of assistance. The Activities, Comprehension and Revision exercises are ranged from young learners to older learners. To cover all elementary age groups I have also included crossword puzzles, wordsearches, lesson plans, crafts and activities for the range Pre-K upwards. Particularly for the kindergarten/grades 1-2 age groups I have included bee/honey thematic printables that can be used in a classroom theme or Homeschool room setting. Simple honey recipes are sure to delight any child (and adult), while riddles, songs and fingerplays, Bee Games complete the early learning thematic unit. For free bee jigsaw puzzles (Download them and own them) visit On that page you will find links to download more printables, a PC game, as well as get involved in some online interactive bee activities. A delightful accompaniment to this unit are the Reading Comprehension Unit Studies of the well-loved Maya the Bee and Buster Bumblebee which links you will find on that page as well. Enjoy! With blessings for your educational journey Donnette E Davis St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 4

4 Happy Insects "Happy insect, what can be In happiness compared to thee? Fed with nourishment divine, The dewy morning's gentle wine! "Nature waits upon thee still, And thy verdant cup does fill; 'Tis filled wherever thou doest tread Nature's self thy Ganymede. "Thou doest drink and dance and sing, Happier than the happiest king! All the fields which thou doest see, All the plants belong to thee, All the summer hours produce, Fertile made with early juice, Man for thee does sow and plough, Farmer he, and landlord thou." From THE GREEK OF ANACREON. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 5

5 Bees are flying insects with two pairs of transparent wings. Many common species have coloured stripes on their abdomen. For a layman "bees" means Honey bees that live in colonies and is a source of honey. Honey bees have a hairy body. In honey bees each pair of legs is specialised for specific purposes like cleaning antennae, accumulating and carrying pollen, and picking wax secreted by their own body. The mouth parts are suited for Chewing solid food like pollen and for lapping up liquids like nectar. For a naturalist bees are just not Honey bees, there are other families of bees that differ from honey bees in look, feeding and nesting habits. These are bumble bees, Cellophane bees, Cocoo Bees, Mining Bees, Sweat bees, Leaf cutter bees, Mason bees, Digger bees, And Carpenter bees etc. These are common in our surroundings but are less conspicuous. This is because many of them are solitary or live in less organised small communities, unlike the highly social honey bees that live in large colonies. All bees, wasps, hornets and ants belong to a common insect order Hymenoptera. All these insects have transparent wings and share a similar anatomy. Where does it live? Honeybees are social insects and large colonies of Honeybees live in hives made of wax and some plant exudates (propolis). Honey bees secrete wax from glands in their abdomen. Other bee species are either social living in small communities or are solitary. They make their own nests using wax, propolis, plant parts, mud etc. The nests are built in the open on trees and shrubs, in holes boring holes into wood, in under ground tunnels, in abandoned rat holes, in cracks and crevices in buildings etc. Bees make their hives or nests in the open as well as in dark places. Nesting habits differ with species. What does it eat? St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 6

6 Most bees take nectar and pollen as their primary source of nutrition. Pollen is the major protein source that helps to build body parts and nectar is the major carbohydrate source that provides energy In honey bees that are social and live in colonies there is a clear caste differentiation into queen, worker and drone. The main food differs for each caste. The queen and the larval stages are fed with a secretion called royal jelly (queen substance) secreted by the worker bees. In honey bees the food changes from royal jelly to pollen and nectar with the different growth stages of the larva. The adult workers feed mostly on nectar and pollen. Drones are fed with royal jelly, nectar and pollen. Honey bees convert nectar into honey and store it for using in dearth periods like winter when nectar and pollen are not available. A honeycomb in a beehive. How does it defend itself? Female honey bees have stingers that are modified parts of the female reproductive system. Bees sting when they feel threatened. It is worker bees that sting while defending the colony. Stingers are in the last segment of the abdomen. In many species the act of stinging is fatal to the bee. The last segment of the bee's body carries the venom gland and gets ripped off from the abdomen of the bee while stinging and the bee dies due to the injury. The detached stinger is left on the body of the victim. If the sting is not immediately removed from the victim's body more venom is pumped into the body by the pulsating venom glands. Worker bees have tiny barbs in the stinger similar to that of a harpoon head. It is due to these barbs the sting rips off from bee and gets lodged on victim's body. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 7

7 The sting left on the victim s body, gives off an alarm signal by release of a chemical called pheromones. This attracts other bees in the colony to sting the victim. So a person is stung by a bee, the sting must be removed immediately to avoid further stings from other bees which are attracted by the pheromone signal. Immediate removal of the sting also reduces the amount of bee venom injected into the body and the pain and swelling arising out of the sting. Bee stings are painful and will lead to swelling around the stung area and some species are highly venomous and stings can be life threatening. For some people, even the sting from bee species that are not very venomous could cause allergic reactions that can lead to death or intense pain if not treated immediately. Some species, like killer bees, are highly irritable and have a bad reputation of attacking passers by even if there was no attempt to irritate the colony. These bees are present in both of the American continents. It is a good idea not to go near a bee colony unless one is has a good knowledge of handling bees and can identify the species that is in the colony. Often it is difficult to differentiate between the killer bee species and the domesticated bee species in the wild. Bee stings become fatal if the number of stings that the victim has suffered is too high or if the species is highly venomous. A few bee species which do not have stingers bite using the mandibles (mandibles are mouth parts of the insect that are using for cutting and chewing). What stages of metamorphosis does it go through? Bees are advanced insects that have all the four stages of metamorphosis. A Bee life cycle includes egg, larva, pupa and adult stages. In most bees species the eggs hatch by the third day after laying or within a few days. During the larval stage growth rate is high and hence larvae are voracious. Bees exhibit parental care and adult bees take care of the larvae by feeding them. Larval stage extends from a week to a fort night after which larvae enter the dormant pupae stage. Pupae stage lasts for a period ranging from a week to a couple of weeks. Larvae and Pupae are housed in special cells prepared by adult St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 8

8 bees made of wax, propolis or plant parts. Larvae do not forage on their own and requires parental care to survive. In few primitive species of bees the adults stuff the cells with reserve food and lay the egg in the cells. The emerging larvae feed on the stored food till it enters pupae stage. This behaviour is similar to those of wasps. What special behaviour does it exhibit? Most bee species exhibit parental care and the parents feed and bring up the larvae to pupae stage. Parental care is more significant in those species which live in highly organised societies like Honey bees. Each Honey bee colony has different castes of bees which are different morphologically. Each Honey bee colony has a queen. The queen is the only female that can lay fertilized eggs that will hatch to larvae capable of developing into queen or worker. Queens are generally larger in size compared to other castes in the colony. There are a few drones in the honey bee colony which are male bees which have only reproductive function. Drones mate with newly emerged queens. After mating the Drones die. The majority of bees in a honey bee colony are worker bees which are females which cannot lay eggs in the presence of the queen. The workers forage for pollen and nectar, feed the queen, drones and larvae, clean the hives, process and convert nectar into honey and build, maintain and defend the hive. A major activity of worker bees in a honeybee colony is preparation of honey which serves as a reserve food during dearth period of nectar, especially during winter. The worker bees lap up nectar (which is water like in consistency) from flowers and other plant parts and store in their stomach till they return to their hives. In the bee s stomach water is removed from the nectar to concentrate and thicken the nectar. Some digestive juices also mix with the nectar in the bee s stomach. Once the bee returns to the hive the concentrated nectar is regurgitated from stomach through the mouth into special honey storing cells. Further processing is done by St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 9

9 evaporating the water in the nectar stored in the cells by synchronized beating of wings of bees to create an air flow in the hive. This is called fanning. When nectar in the cells reaches the required thickness it is called honey and the cells are sealed by the bees. Honey bees also collect and store pollen in special cells for reserve food. Bees like most insects communicate using chemical signals called pheromones. In addition to this Honeybees communicate by special pattern of movement inside the hive. This called bee dance. The communication by bee dance is symbolic and generally conveys the direction and distance of a food source from the hive. How do bees affect people? Honey is taken from honey bee colonies in the wild and from colonies that are reared in apiaries (bee farms). In addition to honey pollen, bee's wax, propolis and royal jelly are major apiary products. Bees are very important pollinators and improve productivity in crops. Many species are reared by farmers to enhance crop productivity by proper pollination. As noted before bee stings can be extremely painful and can lead to health problems if they are not treated correctly. Some species of leaf cutter bees and wood borer bees are household or garden pests that eat plant parts like leaves and flowers, or bore into wooden articles in the house hold. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 10

10 THE HONEY BEE Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners "Simple and sweet is their food; they eat no flesh of the living." VON KUEBEL. ONE can hardly believe that this small, ever busy creature each year gathers many million dollars worth of products for man in the USA alone to say nothing of its inestimable value on the farm and especially in the orchard, where it assists in carrying pollen from blossom to blossom. It is of far greater value to man as a carrier of pollen than it is as a honey gatherer and yet under especially favourable conditions in one year a strong colony may produce between twenty-five and thirty dollars worth of honey. Worker, queen and drone honey bees; all about natural size. (After Phillips, U. S. Dept. of Agri.) Stages of development of honey bee; a, egg; b, young grub; c, full-fed grub; d, pupa; all enlarged. (After Phillips, U. S. Dept. Agri.) St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 11

11 The general habits of the bee are fairly well known by all. They live in colonies consisting largely of workers, one female or queen and males or drones. Whenever the number of workers becomes sufficiently large to warrant a division of the colony, a young queen is reared by the workers and just before she matures, the old queen leaves with about half of the workers to establish a new colony. This division of the colony is called swarming. If a hive, box or other acceptable home is not provided soon after the swarm comes out and clusters, it may fly to the woods and establishes itself in a hollow tree where the regular work of honey gathering is continued. This accounts for so many bee-trees in the woods. The bee has been handled by man for ages, but it readily becomes wild when allowed to escape to the woods. The bee colony offers one of the best examples to show what can be accomplished by united effort where harmony prevails. Certain of the workers gather honey, others are nurses for the queen and young brood in the hive, others guard the hive and repel intruders, and others care for the hive by mending breaks and providing new comb as it is needed. Each knows its work and goes about it without interfering with the work of others. It is one huge assemblage of individuals under one roof where harmony and industry prevail. Throughout the long, hot summer days the workers are busy from daylight until dark gathering nectar, while at night they force currents of air thru the hive to evaporate the excess water from the nectar. When flowers are not available near the hive they simply fly until they find them, be it one, two or more miles. As long as they are able to gather honey they continue to do so and when they give out they drop in the field and are forgotten, others rushing to take their place. Often when winter is approaching and the store of honey is low the less vigorous ones are cast out from the hive and left to die. If man could learn a few of the lessons which the bee teaches, he would be a better, a more useful and a wiser addition to society. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 12

12 The Life Cycle of a Bee in Brief Because bees are insects they have four stages to their life cycle. The stages are, egg, larva, pupa and adult. The life cycle process is called metamorphosis, which means that the form of the bee changes from the larva to the adult. Passing through the immature stages takes 21 days for worker bees. On the first day, the queen bee lays a single egg in each cell of the comb. The egg generally hatches into a larva on the fourth day. The larva is a legless grub that resembles a tiny white sausage. The larva is fed a mixture of pollen and nectar called beebread. On the ninth day the cell is capped with wax and the larva transforms into the pupa. The pupa doesn't eat. On day 21, the new adult worker bee emerges. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 13

13 Lesson Plan : The Honey Bee Body Grades: K-3 Essential Skills: Science, Language Arts, Art Duration: 1-2 class periods OVERVIEW Students construct a paper honey bee to learn the six major parts of a bee and other insects. They will compare their own body parts to those of bees. Preparation Teacher Preparation: Photocopy bee pattern in Activity Sheet 1 onto heavy paper. For younger students, enlarge the pattern so it is easier to cut out. Or create your own. Gather remaining materials and books (see Bibliography). Curriculum Support Materials: 1. Pictures: Honey bee collecting pollen 2. Pictures:. Honey bee queen and workers on comb 3. Pictures: Common bees and wasps St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 14

14 Other Materials: Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners 1. Dark orange or orange-brown construction paper (for bee body). Friendly warning: Although your instinct may be to choose yellow-and-black for the body colours, honey bees are actually deep burnt-orange with alternating darker bands on their abdomen. Bumble bees and wasps are yellow-andblack. This colour can be achieved by having the students colour over orange construction paper with a brown crayon or marker. 2. White construction paper, typewriter paper or plastic overhead sheets (for wings) 3. Grey or black construction paper, or pipe cleaners (for antennae and/or legs) 4. Black marker, glue stick, scissors and stapler 5. Standard nine-inch diameter white paper plates (for bee bonnet) 6. Letter size white paper (for bee bonnet) Lesson Plan Introduction (15 minutes) Explain that they will construct a honey bee body that will look similar to the bees in the pictures. Explain the difference in colouration between honey bees, bumble bees and wasps. Show or give each student a copy of Parts of a worker honey bee. Explain the different body parts and their functions. Activity 1 Constructing a honey bee body (45 minutes) Prepare a completed sample of the construction paper honey bee so you will have one sample put together in advance and also one to put together during the demonstration. Distribute a copy of the pattern to each student. You may want to enlarge it to 150% or larger for younger classes. Have them cut out all eight parts to use as templates. Have the students trace the template patterns for the three main body St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 15

15 parts onto the orange paper. Glue the pieces so the thorax overlaps the abdomen by about 1/3 inch and the head overlaps the thorax the same amount. Have the students count the correct number of wings (2 for a one-sided bee) and trace them onto the white paper. After the wings have been cut, students should glue them in the correct positions onto the honey bee body (on the thorax, with the smaller under wing under and be hind the larger fore-wing.) Students can either trace and cut the antennae and legs from the grey or black construction paper, or you can provide them with dark pipe cleaners to use for this purpose. Let students draw compound eyes on the head with a black marker. They should also draw a few bands around the abdomen, starting about halfway down and filling in the entire end portion. Include details such as simple eyes, pollen baskets, veins on the wings, and the stinger, to make more lifelike bees. Bottle caps can be glued to the hind legs to serve as pollen baskets. Cotton balls can then be added and removed to simulated pollen storage. Activity 2 Making a colony of bees (30 minutes) Read The Honeybee by Paula Hogan to the students. Give each student a copy of Activity Sheet No. 3 (Worker, queen and drone). Explain the difference in the sizes of each of the three bees. Talk briefly about their functions. Assemble a colony of bees with some drones and a queen. To construct a drone bee, make the abdomen slightly longer and wider. To construct a queen bee, make the abdomen about twice as long, but not much wider. Put the three types of honey bees on the bulletin board or wall to make a "colony." Note: The bees known as Africanized honey bees look just like the common garden honey bee. Only an expert using special equipment can tell them apart. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 16

16 Activity 3 Bee bonnet (30 minutes) Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners Have students cut the centre from the paper plate so they are left with only the outside edge forming a ring. Have them cut the letter-size paper lengthwise into one-inch wide strips. Cross two strips across the opening of the plate and staple as indicated. Staple or paste construction paper bees to either the top of the hat or the outside edge, as student desires. Hats may be used for pollination activity or bee dance. Bees may also be used for jewellery or mobiles. Conclusion (30 minutes) After the students have completed their construction paper bees, bring the class together and have the children volunteer to tell the class one new thing they learned about bees. Relate the body parts they learned about the bees to their own body parts. How many legs did the bee have? Do bees have arms? Point out that bees and humans both have a head, eyes, etc. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to having wings. Distribute a copy of the Honey Bee colouring sheet to each student and encourage them to colour it using crayons. Extensions: Read a story to the children about honey bees. Watch a documentary video or DVD about Bees. Develop a puppet play using the three different honey bees. Review vocabulary using Activity Sheet 2, page 2. Words with special meanings: (for understanding only, not to be tested) 1. Abdomen 2. Antennae 3. Head St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 17

17 4. Thorax 5. Eye 6. Worker 7. Queen 8. Drone 9. Stinger 10. Pollen basket Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 18

18 Information Sheet 1 Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners Bee Basics Bees may not have a good reputation because of their ability to sting, but many are important and beneficial. Honey bees are the bees with the best public image. We see them as industrious ("busy as a bee") and we appreciate their main product, honey, as setting the standard for all that is wonderful and sweet. Here we will discuss some basic facts and history about bees. Over 25,000 species of bees have been identified in the world, with perhaps as many as 40,000 species yet to be identified. In the continental United States scientists have found approximately 3,500 species of bees. The desert regions of northern Mexico and southern Arizona have the richest diversity of bees found anywhere in the world. Although there is no exact count, a bee scientist at the USDA Carl Hayden Bee Research Centre says there are between 1,000 and 1,200 species of bees within 100 miles of Tucson! You may wonder how this can be true. It turns out that not all bees are social bees that live in large families like bumble bees and honey bees. Most are less wellknown bees called solitary bees, for example carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, alkali bees, digger bees or sweat bees. Female solitary bees build their own nests and provide food for only their own offspring. All bees collect pollen and nectar, and many of the solitary species are essential because they pollinate plants ignored by honey bees. What we call honey bees are represented by eight to 10 species in the genus Apis, a name from which comes the word for beekeeping (apiculture) and the word for a bee yard (apiary). The species of honey bee commonly found today in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas is Apis mellifera, which means honey carrier. This name is not technically correct as the bees carry nectar from flowers which they then use to produce honey back in the hive. Only when the bees are moving to a new nest (swarming) do they carry honey. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 19

19 There are 24 races of Apis mellifera. The races have different physical and behavioural characteristics such as body colour, wing length, and susceptibility to disease. But, since they are all of the same species, bees from one race can mate with bees from another race, creating even more variation within the honey bee universe. Caucasian bees ( A. mellifera caucasica) are known to be extremely docile, whereas the black or German bees ( A. mellifera mellifera) are known to overwinter well in severe climates. The African group of bees includes not only the largest number of geographic races (12), but also some of the best known, such as the notorious A. mellifera scutellata. It was a few queens of this highly defensive race that were brought into Brazil in 1957 and started the bees we now know as "Africanized honey bees." The true honey bee was not native to the Americas. Prior to Columbus, people in Central and South America collected honey from bees known as "stingless bees." Although stingless bees do actually lack a stinger, they are not completely defenceless. They can inflict painful bites with their mandibles. They also do not produce honey in the same quantity as A. mellifera. In the early part of the 16th century, the Spanish brought over the first honey bee colonies. English colonists did the same and soon honey bees had escaped into the wild and were buzzing all over North America. In some cases, the honey bees travelled in advance of the European settlers and came in contact with Native American tribes, who dubbed them "white man's flies." By the time the frontier had been settled, late in the 19th century, honey bees were regarded as a natural part of the insect world in North America. In Brazil and other tropical areas, the introduced honey bees did not survive as well as they did in temperate climates. In an effort to improve honey production in the tropics, a scientist began some breeding experiments using some of the common European honey bees and crossing them with the A. mellifera scutellata bees. This Africanized mixture proved to have the highly defensive behaviour of the African race. In 1957 some of the bees escaped, and they have been slowly spreading northwards ever since. Africanized honey bees reached Arizona in St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 20

20 More than 211,000 beekeepers maintain about 3.2 million honey bee colonies in the United States. Beekeepers often use their bees for pollination of crops rather than for honey production. In fact, one third of our food production is the direct result of pollination by insects. So, although we will have to be more cautious of honey bees in the future, they will remain an important part of our environment. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 21

21 Information Sheet 2 Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners The Honey Bee Body Honey bees have many characteristics common to all insects. Insects have a hard outer covering called an exoskeleton, rather than an internal skeleton like vertebrates. The exoskeleton, which is made of a material called chitin, helps to protect the internal organs of the insect and helps prevent desiccation (drying out). In order to grow, the insect must shed the exoskeleton. Insects have three body regions: the head, thorax and abdomen. The head contains the sensory organs, and appendages for ingestion. The thorax contains the appendages for locomotion, the legs and wings. The abdomen contains the organs for digestion and reproduction. Honey Bee Anatomical Characteristics Abdomen. The honey bee abdomen is composed of nine segments. The wax and some scent glands are located here in the adult. The sting is contained in a pocket at the end of the tapering abdomen in adult females. Antenna(e). The form of the antenna in insects varies according to its precise function. The antennae are feathery in male moths, elongated in the cockroach, short and bristle-like in the dragonfly, and bead-like in the termite. In honey bees, the segmented antennae are important sensory organs. The antennae can move freely since their bases are set in small socket-like areas on the head. Each of the antennae is connected to the brain by a large double nerve that is necessary to accommodate all of the crucial sensory input. The tiny sensory hairs on each antenna are responsive to stimuli of touch and odour. Eye(s). Honey bees and people do not see eye to eye. Although honey bees perceive a fairly broad colour range, they can only differentiate between six major categories of colour, including yellow, blue-green, blue, violet, ultraviolet, and also a colour known as "bee's purple," a mixture of yellow and ultraviolet. Bees can not St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 22

22 see red. Differentiation is not equally good throughout the range and is best in the blue-green, violet, and bee's purple colours. Like most insects, honey bees have compound eyes that are made up of thousands of tiny lenses called facets. Scientists think that each facet in a compound eye takes in one small part of the insect's vision. The brain then takes the image from each tiny lens and creates one large mosaic-like picture. This image is somewhat analogous to the image produced on a television screen, in which the "picture" is essentially a grid composed of dots of light. The advantage of the compound eye is its ability to detect movement. Honey bees can easily differentiate between solid and broken patterns, but show a preference for broken figures. Related to this, bees respond more readily to moving flowers than to stationary ones. Therefore, their eye is better adapted for movement perception than for form perception. Honey bees also have three smaller eyes in addition to the compound eyes. These simple eyes or "ocelli" are located above the compound eyes and are sensitive to light, but can't resolve images. Head. The honey bee head is triangular when seen from the front. The two antennae arise close together near the centre of the face. The bee has two compound eyes and three simple eyes, also located on the head. The honey bee uses its proboscis, or long hairy tongue, to feed on liquids and its mandibles to eat pollen and work wax in comb building. Leg(s). The honey bee has three pairs of segmented legs. The legs of the bee are primarily used for walking. However, honey bee legs have specialized areas such as the antennae cleaners on the forelegs, and the pollen baskets on the hind legs. Mandible(s). T he honey bees have a pair of mandibles located on either the side of the head that act like a pair of pliers. The mandibles are used for any chores about the hive that require grasping or cutting, such as working wax to construct the comb, biting into flower parts (anthers) to release pollen, carrying detritus out of the hive, or gripping enemies during nest defence. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 23

23 Proboscis. The proboscis of the honey bee is simply a long, slender, hairy tongue that acts as a straw to bring the liquid food (nectar, honey and water) to the mouth. When in use, the tongue moves rapidly back and forth while the flexible tip performs a lapping motion. After feeding, the proboscis is drawn up and folded behind the head. Bees can eat fine particles like pollen, which is used as a source of protein, but cannot handle big particles. Pollen Basket(s). A smooth, somewhat concave surface of the outer hind leg that is fringed with long, curved hairs that hold the pollen in place. This enclosed space is used to transport pollen and propolis to the hive. Also called a corbicula. Pollen Press. Once the bees have gathered the pollen, they move it to the pollen press located between the two largest segments of the hind leg. It is used to press the pollen into pellets. Rakes and Combs. Structures on the legs used to collect and remove pollen that sticks to the hairy bodies of honey bees. Stinger. The stinger is similar in structure and mechanism to an egg-laying organ, known as the ovipositor, possessed by other insects. In other words, the sting is a modified ovipositor that ejects venom instead of eggs. Thus, only female bees can have a stinger. The sting is found in a chamber at the end of the abdomen, from which only the sharp -pointed shaft protrudes. It is about 1/8-inch long. When the stinger is not in use, it is retracted within the sting chamber of the abdomen. The shaft is turned up so that is base is concealed. The shaft is a hollow tube, like a hypodermic needle. The tip is barbed so that it sticks in the skin of the victim. The hollow needle actually has three sections. The top section is called the stylet and has ridges. The bottom two pieces are called lancets. When the stinger penetrates the skin, the two lancets move back and forth on the ridges of the stylet so that the whole apparatus is driven deeper into the skin. The poison canal is en closed within the lancets. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 24

24 In front of the shaft is the bulb. The ends of the lancets within the bulb are enlarged and as they move they force the venom into the poison canal, like miniature plungers. The venom comes from two acid glands that secrete into the poison sac. During stinging, the contents of the alkaline gland are dumped directly into the poison canal where they mix with the acidic portion. When a honey bee stings a mammal, the stinger becomes embedded. In its struggle to free itself, a portion of the stinger is left behind. This damages the honey bee enough to kill her. The stinger continues to contract by reflex action, continuously pumping venom into the wound for several seconds. Thorax. The thorax is the middle part of the bee and is the anchor point for six legs (three pair), as well as two sets of membranous wings in the adult. Pollen baskets for carrying pollen back to the hive are located on the hind legs. Wax Gland(s). Four pairs of glands that are specialized parts of the body wall, which during the wax forming period in the life of a worker, become greatly thickened and take on a glandular structure. The wax is discharged as a liquid and hardens to small flakes or scales and sits in wax pockets. The worker bee draws the wax scales out with the comb on the inside hind leg. The wax scale is then transferred to the mandibles where it is chewed into a compact, pliant mass. The beeswax is then added to the comb. After the worker bee outgrows the wax forming period, the glands degenerate and become a flat layer of cells. Wing(s). The honey bee has two sets of flat, thin, membranous wings, strengthened by various veins. The fore wings are much larger than the hind wings, but the two wings of each side work together in flight. Just flapping the wings does not result in flight. The driving force results from a propeller-like twist given to each wing during the upstroke and the down stroke. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 25

25 Information Sheet 3 Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners Honey Bee Biology The following is a discussion of the members of a honey bee colony, their development and their duties within the colony. The vast majority of adult honey bees in any colony are female worker bees. The jobs of the worker bees are: tending and feeding young bees (larvae), making honey, making royal jelly and beebread to feed larvae, producing wax, cooling the hive by fanning wings, gathering and storing pollen, nectar and water, guarding the hive, building, cleaning and repairing the comb, and feeding and taking care of the queen and drones. In part, the job the worker honey bee performs on any given day depends on its age. As insects, honey bees pass through four distinct life stages: the egg, larva, pupa and adult. The process is called complete metamorphosis, which means that the form of the bee changes drastically from the larva to the adult. Passing through the immature stages takes 21 days for worker bees. On the first day, the queen bee lays a single egg in each cell of the comb. The egg generally hatches into a larva on the fourth day. The larva is a legless grub that resembles a tiny white sausage. The larva is fed a mixture of pollen and nectar called beebread. On the ninth day the cell is capped with wax and the larva transforms into the pupa. The pupa is a physical transition stage between the amorphous larva and the hairy, winged adult. The pupa doesn't eat. On day 21, the new adult worker bee emerges. The male members of the colony, the drones, are somewhat larger and make up only about five percent of the hive population. Drones are fed royal jelly, and develop in a slightly larger cell than worker bees from unfertilized eggs. Drones remain in the pupal stage for 15 days, so they don't emerge until day 24. Drones have huge compound eyes that meet at the top of their head and an extra segment in their antennae. In comparison to worker bees, drones have wider bodies and their abdomens are rounded rather than pointed. Drones, like all other male bees and wasps, do not have stingers. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 26

26 There is only one queen in a honey bee colony. She is slightly larger than a worker bee, with a longer abdomen. She does not have pollen baskets on her legs. Eggs destined to become queens are laid in a larger cell, and the larvae are fed only royal jelly. The adult queen's sole duty is to lay eggs, up to 2,000 a day! She is fed by the workers and never leaves the hive except to mate. Queen bees also have stingers and use them in battles with each other for dominance of the colony. If a new queen emerges from her incubation cell and is detected by the current queen, the "old lady" often goes over and kills her rival. In this way, the stability of the colony is maintained. When a queen gets old or weak and slows her production of queen substance, she is generally replaced by a new queen. New queens are also produced in colonies about to swarm. Virgin queen bees take what is known as a "nuptial flight" sometime within the first week or two after emerging from the pupal chamber. The new queen flies out of the hive and begins to produce a perfume-like substance called a "pheromone." The drones in the area are attracted to the pheromone and the queen will mate with as many as 20 of them. After mating, the drones die. Once the queen has mated, she heads back to the hive to start laying eggs in beeswax chambers that the workers have created especially for this purpose. A queen can lay her own weight in eggs every day and, since she can maintain the sperm she has collected for her lifetime in a special pouch in her body, she can continue laying eggs indefinitely. The fertilized eggs laid by a queen become female worker bees and new queens. The queen also lays some unfertilized eggs, which produce the drones. Since they come from unfertilized eggs, the drones carry only the chromosomes of the queen. The drones could be called the couch potatoes of the insect world. While they wait for an opportunity to mate with a virgin queen, they are fed and cared for by workers, and only occasionally fly out of the hive to test their wings. If no opportunity to mate arises by fall, the drones are ejected from the nest by the workers and left to fend for themselves. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 27

27 On average, queen bees live for about a year-and-a-half, although some have been known to survive for up to six years. While she is alive and active, the queens are constantly cared for by workers acting as attendants. In cases where a queen dies prematurely and the colony had no new queen to replace her, some worker bees develop the ability to lay eggs but, because they cannot mate, they produce only drones and the colony eventually perishes. When the colony starts to become too crowded, some of the bees split off to form a new colony. This is called swarming. First the eggs for new queens are laid in their special larger cells. "Swarming" occurs when part of the colony breaks off with the old queen and flies off looking for another place to call home. The bees engorge themselves on their honey reserves before leaving so as to have sufficient energy to make it to a new location. There can be multiple swarms from one hive, since new queens can also emerge and fly off with part of the worker force. A honey bee swarm in a tree. St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 28

28 Activity 1 St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 29

29 Student Activity ~ Q & A Bees : A Unit Study for Elementary Learners (Model Answers at end of book) Spread out the construction paper bee parts from Activity Sheet 1. Use the pieces to ask the students the following questions: Begin with the largest piece. "What is this part of the bee?" "What is the middle-sized body section called?" "Who remembers what the smallest of the three is called?" "Where do the legs attach?" "Does anyone remember how the bee carries food?" "Where are these pollen baskets found?" "Where do the stripes go on the bee's body?" "Where should we place the stinger?" "Where are the wings attached?" "How many eyes does the bee have?" "How many legs does the bee have?" "How many wings does the bee have?" St Aiden s Homeschool 2009 ~ All Rights Reserved Donnette E Davis 30

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