Beyond Your Backyard - Helping Our Busy Bees
Kimberly J. Epp
I have always enjoyed teaching bright-eyed children about nature, and on Wednesday July 24th, I had ages toddler to teen come out to the Gravelbourg Library to learn about bees and make their own bee hydration baths. The group was keen and eager to make the craft as well as learn more about bees.
With warm weather such as what we have been having, it can be very tiring for a bee. A regular bird bath can provide water for a thirsty bee, but if the bee finds itself in the water it will drown as they cannot swim. Bee baths have stones for the bees to perch on within one or two centimetres of water. Like bird baths, the water should be replaced daily.
A bee has a tongue-like proboscis which it uses for drinking both nectar and water. If you ever come across a tired bee, you can offer it a spoonful of sugar water, which is similar to the nectar it drinks in flowers. The bee will smell it, drink from it, and you just might save the life of the most important creature on earth.
Over a third of the food we eat comes from the pollination of bees, and Honey Bees are deemed the most important species on the planet. Sadly, we have lost 40 per cent of our Honey Bee population in North America due to pesticides, GMO's, habitat loss and climate change. If we lose our bees, our time on earth is limited to four years.
Our busy bees are indeed busy. In one day, a Honey Bee can travel nearly 10 kilometers. They get their food from the nectar in flowers and communicate via a dance to the other bees in the hive. A bee's wings beat from 200 to 11,400 times per minute, dependent on the species. In fact, the buzz you hear near a hive is made from these fast-beating wings.
On Sunday, August 18th, the public is invited to attend a bee/bee bath program at Wellesly Park at Wakamow from 2 to 4 pm. Please call Kim at (306) 681-3198 to pre-register. There is a $3.00 fee for materials.
Following the bee talk and bee bath craft we will head out on a short walk to try and find and identify some bumblebees from the Great Canadian Bumblebee Count chart. It is time to bee-come more aware of the importance that these tiny pollinators play in our lives.
Stay tuned for my upcoming article on rehabbing orphaned raccoons in Saskatchewan. To learn more about bees, click onto this link here;
Epp is an Environmental Educator and writer, as well as Past President, Director and Field Trip Coordinator for the Moose Jaw Nature Society. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the MJNS facebook page.