Build Your Own Bee House #CampSci
You know that bees make honey, right? Do you know why bees make honey? It is their food during the winter months! When the flowers are available, bees eat the nectar and the pollen; but during the winter, they eat the honey.
What do bees use to make honey? Bee make honey out of the nectar from the flowers. They use the nectar and also the pollen to make honey. The bees eat pollen for the protein and they mix the pollen in the honey to make their own food. That is why bees are always on the hunt for more pollen and more flowers.
Bees are quite literally the most important pollinators on this planet!
Some people keep bees to make honey for themselves. They keep the bees in bee boxes outside in their yards. They also keep plenty of blooming flowers in their yard or nearby areas during the spring, summer and fall months for the busy bees.
Bees visit loads and loads of flowers, but not all in the same day. A colony of bees will usually visit a specific area for a day or so, collecting pollen from the SAME flowers. They have built-in intuition to know they must pollinate the same flowers. The bees from the same colony will fly to the same area and collect pollen from the same flowers and pollinate the same flowers.
The survival of a lot of flowers and plants and fruit really depend on bees! Bees were created for the special purpose of helping flowers survive! Flowers don't use their nectar for themselves, they use it to attract bees in order to be pollinated!
If you are going to plant some flowers in your yard in order to attract some bees, stay away from the color red. Bees love all colors on the spectrum, but they are not prone to be attracted to the color red, (they can't see the color red) unless it smells really sweet. Purple is the best colors to attract bees!
Not all bees are honey producing bees though. There are native bees like the squash bee, bumble bees, blueberry bees and the blue orchard mason bee. These bees are the bees you will see in your parks and neighborhood areas. They pollinate our flowers and vegetable gardens.
National Pollinator Week
A couple of weeks ago was National Pollinator Week. This is an important week for numerous types of farmers all over our nation and the world. Fruit farmers love bees in order to have all their amazing trees pollinated for delicious fruits. But, did you know that dairy farmers need bees as well?
Cows love alfalfa and they need alfalfa in order to produce the best milk. Alfalfa depends on the bees for pollination. Therefore, farmers love bees because the bees will pollinate the alfalfa (its flowers are purple!), the cows eat the alfalfa, then the cows make milk and dairy farmers deliver the milk to us!
I am allergic to bees and my daughters are as well, so while we love the fact that bees keep our planet pollinated -- I'm a bit wary when I see them. My daughters and I are keen on the fact that bumblebees do not sting (they don't have a stinger). We know that once a bee stings you, it will die and we also know that wasps can re-sting you.
We avoid bees and never try to frighten bees -- this keeps all of us (bees included) safe!
Build Your Own Bee House #CampSci
We received our summer Camp Science Summer Experiment from Monsanto and my girls were so excited! They loved the idea of building their own bee houses. We have a pretty big yard with loads of trees, so we were able to select a tree that is not in close proximity to our house. The girls felt safe hanging their bee houses on our tree and if they are outdoors, they won't be disturbing the bee house at all.
- Cardboard bee tubes
- Empty Milk Carton / empty oatmeal canister, coffee can etc (basically a sturdy, water-resistant container)
- Extra long zip ties
If you don't have access to cardboard bee tubes, you could make your very own. Simply cuts sheets of a thicker paper like construction paper 5-6 inches wide and 8½ inches long. Roll the paper tightly around a wooden dowel rod or pencil and tape securely. Slide the dowel out and repeat until you are able to fill your container fully.
Pack the bee tubes into the water-resistant container, pushing them all the way to the bottom of the container. The tubes should fit snugly inside the container and not slip out or slide around.
Decorate as desired.
Hang the bee house in a sunny location near a garden, flower bed or a food source for bees. The bee house should be angled down so if it happens to rain, water will drain out of the container. Use the zip ties to secure to a tree branch.
Observe your bee house over the next few weeks to see if you have any visitors that have moved in to their new bee home.
We have a lovely pear shaped tree near where we hung the new bee houses, so there are plenty of flowers in the spring time for pollination. I have a garden in the back of my home, not far from the tree either, that has green beans and tomatoes that are just beginning to show signs of flowering. I hope this will attract some bees this summer.
POLLINATING YOUR PLATE
We will have the bees to thank come fall for all our garden foods. Bees are responsible for pollinating more than 75% of our world's crops. So, bees are very important to our world.
Without bees, a lot of the foods that are readily available to us at the local supermarkets would not exist or they would be greatly limited. There would be no honey, no almonds, very little fruit, which means very little juice, less coffee, less alfalfa, which would lead to less dairy.
It is quite amazing how much impact such a small little creature like the bee has on our food system! Without bees, trees, flowers and plants would also not survive, because who would be around to pollinate them.
Build Your Own Bee House and then plant some beautiful violet flowers and hopefully soon your bee house will be full.
Disclosure: Thanks so much Monsanto for our lovely Camp Science Summer Experiment Build Your Ow Bee House #CampSci kits!