So we’ve teamed up to create a simple handy guide for a scare and sting-free summer.
Encourage children to watch bees going about their work 🐝
Bees collect pollen and nectar from different plants and flowers, which they use for energy and to take back to their nests, or hive. Sit with a cuppa and find a plant that the bees are enjoying and watch for a few minutes. You can explain to your child that they are just interested in the flowers, not in stinging them.
What to do if a bee comes near…
If a bee comes near you or your child, stay calm and it will gradually move away. If it happens to land on you, it’s just taking a rest. Move to a suitable flower and gently place the bee where it can feed. Over excitement or panic may make the bee feel that it’s under attack. It’s still very unlikely to sting you but staying calm will show your child that there really is nothing to fear.
Did you know only certain bees can sting?
They also only sting if necessary and feel threatened to defend themselves. This is a last resort because they may die afterwards.
Honeybees - The female (worker) honeybees have a stinger as they are social bees and have a queen to look after in the nest. Honeybees also have their precious honey to protect, which they eat.
Female bumblebees are also social and may sting to protect their family. However, male bees of all species do not sting.
Solitary bees (of which there are over 250 species in the UK) are non-aggressive bees and do not have a queen to protect so they are very safe around children.
You can encourage solitary bees into your outdoor spaces by adding a solitary bee hotel or make your own and watch cavity-nesting bees like mason bees or leafcutter bees begin to nest in the spring.
You can identify a bee you've spotted using our Bee Identification Guide here.
The power of planting for bees🍓
To help children understand the great work bees do. You can plant fruit or veg plants in your garden that your children will enjoy eating. Explain that without bees many of the delicious fruits and veggies that we eat wouldn’t be available as they pollinate the flowers. You can grow some smaller varieties on windowsills or in pots outside.
You can also provide a home for solitary bees nearby the food source for them to rest, nest and lay their eggs in the tubes.
Bee-friendly reading 📘
A great first step if your child is very scared of bees is reading a book about bees. There are lots of great children’s books on bees and pollination that you can read with them. If you are a member of a local library, they can guide you in the right direction. Having more knowledge will make your child feel more confident around bees and they even go on to teach their friends!
A great exercise to do with your family at home is to make a record of the bees (and bugs!) you spot which can be done from a distance or a photograph. Asking them to write in their journal what they have learnt and love about bees.
We'd love to hear about the bee-friendly activities you get up to over the summer holidays!
To get in touch please email Beevive at email@example.com
or Urbee at firstname.lastname@example.org