Celebrating Bees: All About Bees & Why They're So Important
Celebrating Bees: Celebrating Bees: All About Bees & Why They're So Important
As a sustainable-minded company, we understand how valuable bees are. They're crucial to the planet as they support the plants that provide us with nourishment and oxygen. They're the reason ecosystems thrive.
In celebration of World Bee Day, we're sharing information on the magic of bees, how they contribute to our world, and how to protect them from extinction. This information was compiled from numerous notable sources on bees. We encourage you to share this information with your children as they help pave the way to a better world.
Photo credit: Discovery Children's Museum of San Jose
What Are Bees?
Bees are winged insects that are related to wasps and ants. They play a crucial role in pollination, which is the distribution of pollen across most plant and animal species. Bees are widely diverse insets, with 4,000 wild species native to North America alone.
Many species of bees are solitary and live in areas where flowers are abundant. All bees share similar visual characteristics. Their bodies are divided into 3 parts. They have six legs, 2 wings, and antennas. Only female bees have stingers. They range in size and can be a variety of colors, including yellow, black, brown, green, or blue. A bee's buzzing sound comes from their fast-moving wings that flap around 230 beats per second.
Photo credit: National Geographic
The most widely known bee is the honey bee. The yellow and brown stripes are warning signals against their predators, which help protect their honey. They thrive in colonies living in hexagon-shaped hives and serve a single queen.
Worker honey bees collect nectar from flowers and store it in their 'honey sack' which breaks down the nectar. Other worker bees chew on the nectar when they return to their hive. Their saliva breaks down the sugars into glucose and fructose. The nectar is then deposited into the honeycombs and fanned by the bees' wings until most of the water content evaporates. The result is honey!
Photo credit: Perfect Bee
Why Are Bees So Important?
More than 80% of species rely on animals to reproduce by distributing their pollen. This is known as pollination. Plants need to stay healthy to produce enough fruit and seeds, and shelter for their ecosystem and future ecosystems. Plants are also a large source of oxygen for all life on Earth.
Bees are crucial for plants and flowers to thrive through pollination. Bees have tiny hairs all over their bodies that attract pollen and nectar from flowers. As bees travel to flowers and plants, the pollen rolls off and is distributed to the flowers. The result is fertilization which births new plants, flowers, and crops such as apples, melons, broccoli, blueberries, and cherries.
How To Support Bees
Humans have become a risk to bees over time and are the primary reason they are at risk for extinction. This is due to harmful pesticides, industrialized agricultural practices, loss of land, and climate change. Below are ways that you can play a part in supporting bees and keeping them in ecosystems worldwide:
- Reduce or avoid the use of harmful pesticides. If you can't do this, be smarter about how you use pesticides. If you spray pesticides at dusk, this allows time for them to sink into the weeds without disturbing the bees when they arrive in the morning.
- Bees need flowers. Consider planting flowering plants native to your area. Just 1 square foot of wildflowers are enough to support local bees. Find native plants in your area by clicking here.
- Build a bee bath. Bees are hard workers and built up a thirst as they collect nectar. Fill a shallow bowl with clean water and arranged pebbles on which the bees can land.
- Create a safe space for bees to nest. Many bees live underground and build nests in loose soil or wood piles. Consider providing a home for bees and their nests in your own garden. They require a mulch-free, well-drained patch of soil.
- Don't disturb beehives and report any potential harmful behavior toward bees to local authorities or wildlife organizations.
- Adopt a beehive! Do your research and find organizations that offer you the option to adopt a beehive for a year or longer.
- Spread the word! Let your community members know how they can support bees and how special they are to us.
Incorporate Bees Into Play
Children are naturally fascinated by nature and all of its treasures. Although you can't actually incorporate real bees into a child's play routine, you can through education, story-time, pretend play, and hands-on craft activities. Below are some ideas:
Create a bug scavenger hunt with fun facts about all insects and their part in our ecosystem. Include how children can do their part to protect them.
Visit your local library to discover books on bees. Find books with a variety of photos to get a closer look at all the different species.
Download & enjoy PlanToys bee story, "The Adventures of the 6 Bees" by clicking here.
Create your own stories inspired by bees!
Add PlanToys Beehives to a child's play routine. This set can be used in a variety of play settings to help develop fine motor skills, math skills, shape, and color recognition.
|Pretend Play||You can be anything and visit any place through pretend play. Create a beehive out of cardboard and pretend you're a bee that's having a busy day.|
|Crafts||There are so many crafts you can make inspired by bees. Draw bees on pieces of paper, cut them out, and tape them to your window. They'll bring you a smile each time you look at them!|
This year's World Bee Day is May 20th, 2023. Share your support for bees in your community in every way possible. Use the hashtag #SaveTheBees across social media to get people buzzing for our small, but mighty friends!