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BEE-ing Worthy of Royal Status Take Your Medicine: Drink Your Honey Recipe for Soothing a STING-ing Throat


UnBEE-lievable Body Parts Classifying Bee Bodies To BEE or Not to BEE

Chapter 3: BEE-ING TOGETHER 16

Social Bees Nests or Hives BEE-ing the Queen Honeybees Honey: Liquid Gold Keeping BUZZ-y

Chapter 4: BEE-ING ALONE 24

BEE-autiful Homes Living BEE-side Each Other BEE-fore I Leave You Getting BEE-gger: Life Cycle of a Bee


Bee Mobility Invasive Pests Killer Bees Leave Me BEE Game The BEEs Knees BEE a Researcher Let Me BEE: Im BUZZ-y Working BEE-ing a Beekeeper A SWEET Life


BEE-hind the Eight Ball BEE-coming Extinct Whats the BUZZ? BEE the Change the World Needs

Glossary 46 Index 47 Further Reading 48 Photo Credits 48



Bees have been admired throughout history and are still cherished today. Cave paintings from around 13,000 BCE found in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia show bees painted near other sacred animals. These petroglyphs were painted with pigments and animal fat onto If yo u caves and temples, but their wan lived du te ri purpose is not known. Perhaps with d to be ng pre-h a is eithe their creators used these images r YE honey h toric tim 1. D es S or u o to communicate with or warn NO nter? A would 2. W you like n y to fi ould other nomads, to pass on the s nd o swer th ou have y o e ut. ou b und se q lad myths and traditions, or uest 3. D der mad e willing of buzz ions i e o n to cl g be during rituals and religious from you i e m have s? gras kni bg ceremonies. Regardless, 4. C fe while experie s and w reat heig ee n ould b hts o the fact that the bees you alancing ce holdi ds? n a fl cliff imsy for s hold on on a w ng a fla are represented at all m ever o t to co b o e b t t demonstrates their 5. W llapse al minut he unde ly, tall lad orch an ? d sh r e d o s s if y uld arp importance within our ide of an er? (or c you re l a e d m x li der these hunter-gatherer happ tremely swar nging to ain still a e high m t n ned societies. nest ed by h he unde d stead y r undr 6. D s? eds side of a on your o yo o c f lad li prot u en ectiv ff) while der joy p If yo e a bein u inful bees g perh answe b d e e e sti fend red aps n ing t gs? N the heir Cave hon O to a n e p y y a i o n hun hunt tings f th ter s d job e above trou must ha emonst is no b ve r t for questio simp lesome h been. D ate how ns, you ly t e a . prim to satis ights, un ring hun reachero fy it s u t robb ive tools their sw afe ladde ers endu s these hone ed n rs, an a red eet-t ests g y in se rass ladd ooth cr d piercin aving arch g er, a stin s. W of de t ith o gs licio orch, and nly us, ta ngy a knife hone they y. 







BEE-ing Worthy of Royal Status

Over 5,000 years ago Egyptian pharaohs (ancient rulers) used a formal writing system called hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphs consisted of combinations of symbols and letters engraved or painted onto pottery, ivory tags, ancient tombs, and sacred temples. It is interesting to note that the bee hieroglyph shown here (on right) was a royal symbol representing the domain of the pharaoh.

People from ancient Greece thought highly of bees. In fact, bees were so important that the Greeks put a symbol of the bee on one of their coins.

Take Your Medicine: Drink Your Honey

For thousands of years humans have recognized the medicinal uses of honey or mead (fermented honey water). These liquids were known to have natural antibiotic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. People used these sweet liquids to clean sores, loosen phlegm, ward off infections, relieve constipation, reduce diarrhea, eliminate allergies and acne 

outbreaks, cure coughs and sore throats, and numb menstrual cramps. In medieval times, people would soak bandages in honey in order to reduce joint swelling and cure cataracts. Some of these honey cures continue to be used for health purposes today. For example, honey is a primary ingredient in several cough syrups and drops. And when a person has laryngitis (an inflamed larynx), a common home remedy might be ginger tea sweetened by honey or a warm honey/ lemon gargle.

Recipe for Soothing a STING-ing Throat

A Honey/Lemon Gargle
Ingredients: 1 cup (235 ml) of warm water (soothes the throat) squeezed lemon (reduces swelling) 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of honey (has antibacterial properties and sweetens the liquid) teaspoon (1.25 ml) of salt (kills germs) Directions: 1. 2. 3. 4. Mix ingredients in a cup. Gargle. Do not swallow. Spit it out. Repeat as needed.

In addition to honey, bees provide other valuable products. Beeswax continues to be used in cosmetics, candles, soaps, and lip balms. Propolis, a tree resin collected by bees, is known to treat gum infections and minor burns. Bee pollen is used to increase energy and aid in digestion.


BEES of the World, Disperse!

Today, it is estimated that there are 19,500 species of bees found all over the world, on all continents but Antarctica. Some of these bees migrated on their own to new continents, while others were brought by people. Honeybees, for example, are not native to North America. European settlers within the last few hundred years brought these domesticated bees to Canada and the United States.

Invasive Pests
Some bees migrate or are brought to new places, causing negative effects on their new environments. For example, the giant resin bee, a native of Asia, was accidentally brought to the United States in the 1990s and was identified in North Carolina in 1994. These large bees are sometimes considered pests.

Bee Mobility
Bees can sense when an environment has been negatively influenced by humans. They will leave an area that is overdeveloped and not ecologically friendly. Some bees are more mobile than others. The more mobile a species, the more likely it is to survive climate changes and other environmental difficulties. This is because mobile bees are able to move to areas where the conditions are more suitable for their specific needs. In general, the larger the bee, the more likely it is to be able to travel greater distances. Being mobile uses a lot of energy. This means that commuting (travelling) bees have less energy available for collecting food and pollinating plants. If the commutes become Bee too long or difficult, scientist Martin bees may not have Wikelski has pioneered enough food for a miniature tracking tag that fits on the backs of bees. their babies and their populations This monitoring device may decline. allows his research teams to study the flight pattern of bees. 30
A male Eastern carpenter bee (native to North America) visits a kudzu flower.

First, they compete with native bees (wild bees) for nesting sites, and second, they tend to pollinate invasive weeds such as kudzu, which crowds out and kills important native plants. Native bees are negatively affected because they find themselves with fewer food sources.

Killer Bees
In the 1950s, a Brazilian bee biologist named Warwick Kerr crossbred aggressive Africanized honeybees with hardworking Brazilian honeybees (which were originally from Europe). His hope was to create more peaceful, productive bees. The experiment backfired, however, when the killer bees (also known as Africanized bees) escaped, freed into Central America and Mexico. These aggressive and determined hybrids have proven to be more difficult to manage than other honeybee strains. They tend to swarm with greater frequency and to migrate when their food sources dwindle. Africanized bees aggressively guard their hives by positioning a greater number of guards and deploying bigger armies when they feel threatened. By 2003, this destructive bee strain had spread into the US.

There are three main economic problems that this bee migration caused: 1. Killer bees compete with the more domesticated North American/European bees for valuable resources like food, water, and mates. 2. Killer bees are harder to contain since they are quick to swarm when provoked. This means that beekeepers need to spend more time managing the hives. 3. Killer bees have more difficulty surviving the harsh winters. These colonies are less productive since they do not begin pollinating until later in the spring season.

Leave Me BEE Game

Instructions: 1. With the exception of two or three participants, all children find a partner. 2. Partners stand together. They join hands and face one another, creating a hive. 3. One of the two or three children without partners becomes a bee predator (e.g., a wasp, a bear, or a skunk). He/she chases the other single child/children (the bee/s). 31 4. These single participants must find safety from the predator by going inside a hive and joining hands with one of the partners. 5. The child who is behind the couple (the one left without hands to hold) can now be chased by the bee predator. 6. If the bee predator catches someone, he/she becomes it (the new predator).

BEE a Researcher The BEEs Knees

Imagine a world without bees. Not only would it be less colourfulwith fewer wildflowers and flowering plantsit would be less fruitful too. A world without bees means a world where the food supply would be significantly diminished. Canadian professor and global bee researcher Laurence Packer (2010) estimates that bees are responsible for one third of our food supply. He offers an activity as a way for people to think about the significance of these furry and valuable insects. The BEE a Researcher game is an adaptation of Packers Consider Breakfast, Then Thank a Bee activity. Here is a lunch not uncommon to North Americans: a chicken Caesar wrap, carrot sticks, and a fruit smoothie. Step 1: Think carefully about the food in this picture. Which foods would be unavailable if bees disappeared? Step 2: Go to pages 44-45 and see if you guessed right!

Sweat Bees Sweat bees are attracted to the salts found in human perspiration. A research study noted that some sweat bees have been known to sip peoples tears. Imagine being sad, and while you are crying, a sweat bee lands on your cheek, rolls out its slender, hairy tongue (proboscis), and drinks your tears!

Though bees are efficient pollinators, bats, butterflies, humming birds, and moths can also pollinate plants.


Meal Item with Ingredients

Fruit Smoothie Watermelon Strawberries Honey Caesar Wrap Whole wheat wrap Chicken Parmesan cheese Lettuce Tomato Caesar dressing Carrot sticks

Let Me BEE: Im BUZZ-y Working

Humans need bees to pollinate plants. But what is it about bees that make them such good pollinators? Some bees can visit thousands of flowers each day in order to collect their own food (e.g., nectar, pollen). Their hairy legs and bodies pick up flower particles called pollen. They also drop some of these tiny particles onto new flowers. This means that bees have the potential to pollinate hundreds of flowers every day. When a flowers egg comes in contact with pollen, there is a chance that it will grow into a seed. 33

Many plants depend on bees to pollinate their flowers in order to make new seeds. In fact, bees pollinate 87 of the worlds 115 most important food crops. According to some, the estimated worth for the contribution of bees worldwide may be as high as $90 billion a year. For others, their contribution is priceless because the work they do keeps humans and animals alive its a matter of survival! So the next time that you see a bee buzzing from flower to flower, please do not hurt it. Remember to just let it be because it is busy pollinating the worlds flowers and food supply.

BEE-ing a Beekeeper
While some people see bees as scary or as pests, others see them as helpful or even as pets. In the eyes of a bee handler, bees are seen as special, even heroic, because the lives of many creatures depend on them. People who raise or take care of bees are called beekeepers or bee handlers. Some beekeepers raise and care for honeybees. They may sell the bees honey or products made from beeswax. Glen McMullen is one of these people. He and his wife, Gwen, keep honeybees and sell bee products (e.g., honey, honeycomb, beeswax). At the same time, by keeping bees safe, they are helping all of us because they are helping the farms in their area grow healthier crops. Glen says, For me, the greatest thrill of all is to go to the bee yard and lift up the top and see that we have a strong hive; theres an immense amount of satisfaction and joy in finding a thriving, active hive.

Beekeepers need to practise responsible beekeeping (i.e., not taking too much honey) if they want their colonies to thrive.

Some beekeepers, like Glen, rent out their honeybees to other farmers in order to pollinate more fields. Still other bee handlers keep other types of bees. For example, Paul and Maude Stephany keep mason bees. They write, We found out that mason bees are docile, that they rarely sting, and that their venom is very mild compared to other bees. Indeed, in the more than four years that weve been keeping mason bees, we have yet to get stung! Which is amazing considering that we often stand right next to their tubes while theyre busy collecting pollen...all they do is buzz close to us and look our way. Additionally, they chose mason bees because they knew that there are many challenges facing wild pollinators, such as declining populations. By raising mason bees, they released many of these native bees back into their natural environments, enabling them to thrive once more.


A beekeeper prepares a smoker by stuffing paper and cardboard into the canister and lighting it.

The smoke will make the bees drowsy and less active.

Once the frames are removed, the beekeeper can gently inspect the combs or extract honey without harming the bees.

Right: Author Kari-Lynn Winters experiences the job of a beekeeper first-hand.


Besides the pollen that collects on their furry bodies or in their pollen baskets, some bees also collect nectar from flowers. Honeybees take in this sweet liquid through their straw-like tongues. For a short time the nectar is stored in their honey stomachs until they can get back to their nest or hive. Once in their homes, the honeybees regurgitate the nectar from their honey stomachs, pass it from bee to bee, and

then spit it into the wax cells, all the while mixing it with enzymes from their heads and mouths. Then to make the nectar less runny, they fan it with their wings. The moving air helps the excessive water in the nectar to evaporate. The cell is then capped with beeswax. Honeybees save this stored nectar or honey to help them survive during the winter months. Beekeepers collect excess honey by slicing off the caps with a thin honey knife and spinning the combs in a machine called an extractor.

Honeybees visit nearly 1,000,000 flowers in order to create one pound of honey.