I’m a NYC teacher and a new urban beekeeper and I love it. I recently learned so much about bees, their importance in our ecosystem, their intelligence and how they work hard. I’m hoping to share the information here on this page so other teachers can use it for their science classes. You too might want to be a beekeeper. I’ll post some videos from my YouTube channel below. Also, check out some articles and student worksheets at the bottom. I’ve also added a link to purchase your own hive and kit.
What you’re seeing in the live stream above are two beehives on my roof in Staten Island, NY. A breakdown of their inner construction is shown below. If you see any light brown liquid in jars outside their entrance that is not honey, but rather sugar water to feed the bees. It’s a one to one ratio of sugar to water fed to them just until they get situated and established.
- INTERESTING FACTS
- Most of the bees in a hive are female. They are called the worker bees. They have many responsibilities that range from taking care of and protecting the queen, foraging for pollen, building up honey comb (storage cells) , maintaining the hive temperature (heating and cooling), cleaning the hive, making and storing honey, and feeding the larva (called brood).
- The male bees are called drones. Their primary job is to mate with the queen and sometimes act as security.
- In preparation for the cold winter months, the female worker bees often kick out the male drone bees.
- There can only be one active queen in each hive at a time. If another queen is born, the older queens may leave with some bees and find another hive. This can lead to a swarm. Overpopulation inside a hive can also lead to a queen leaving for a another home. This is how I obtained the second hive. I collected a swarm and placed it in the hive box.
- How does a larva become another queen, rather than a worker bee or drone? All larva get special food called royal jelly. Worker bee larva are fed honey and pollen as well, but worker bees actually create a new queen by adding more royal jelly in a cell and no pollen or honey (Read more here)
- Even during freezing temperatures, bees can huddle together and maintain inside beehive temperature as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
SETTING UP MY FIRST HIVE. 3 POUNDS OF BEES AND A QUEEN WERE SHIPPED TO ME THROUGH THE US POST OFFICE.
WE FOUND A SWARM A MILE AWAY THAT LEFT ANOTHER HIVE. COLLECTED THEM AND CREATED A NEW HIVE.
LOOKING FOR THE QUEEN TO MAKE SURE SHE IS PRESENT AND HEALTHY.
Stages of Bee Development
The queen lays one egg per cell. Knowing what the colony needs to survive, the worker bees have built appropriate cells for the queen. In most of the cells, she lays a fertilized egg that will develop into a worker bee. In cells that are slightly larger than the worker cells, she lays unfertilized eggs that will grow into drones.
The egg stage of development lasts only three days.
After three days, the egg hatches into a worm-like form called a larva. The worker bees feed the larva royal jelly for the first few days and then switch to honey and pollen. An exception to this is a future queen: this larva continues its diet of royal jelly. A larva eats almost constantly and grows quickly. Within just five days, it grows 1 500 times larger than its original size. At this point, worker bees cap the cell with wax and the larva spins a cocoon around itself.
The larval stage lasts about six days. It’s shorter for the queen, longer for the worker bees and longest for the drones.
In the pupa stage, the tiny organism hidden under the capping is starting to look like an adult bee. Its legs, eyes and wings develop and, finally, the little hairs that cover its body grow.
After seven to fourteen days in this stage, depending on the type of bee, the now adult bee chews its way out of the cell. This stage is shorter for the queen, longer for the worker bees and longest for the drones.