We were so lucky to have James from Natural New Zealand Honey come and share his knowledge about farming bees. We learnt so very much and he was pretty impressed at what we knew too. We learnt all about 'queen excluders' in the hive boxes, got to check out the smoker that is used to calm the bees, and how different types of flowers make the honey different colours. He bought a see through hive where we could see 4,000 bees and if you spied really carefully you were able to spot the queen bee. James had painted a blue spot on her back so that she was able to be seen amongst all of the worker bees. We found out that three simple eyes on the top of a bees head help it to see in the dark, and that each of the two compound eyes has nearly 7,000 lenses! What amazing insects bees are! A great big thank you to James for sharing his wealth of knowledge with us!
What a lot we have learnt about bee bodies over the last few weeks. Bee's have amazing bodies, full of nifty tricks and their body parts are called the most wonderful words. We've learnt about their long straw-like tongue called a proboscis, their thorax (to be said like 'The Hulk' showing off our muscles!) which is the motor house for their wings and their long, useful antennae. We've learnt about forewings and forelegs, hind wings and hind legs. Did you know that they have pollen baskets on their hind legs and they use their fore and mid legs to brush the pollen into their pollen baskets. What is pretty cool is their five eyes (yes - five eyes! Two compound and three simple).
To show off what we had learnt we each designed and created a cardboard printing block. We made the base of the block using the basic three segments of the bee (head, thorax and abdomen) which we then decorated with all the essential bits likes wings, legs and a stinger (but only if it's a girl!). We did make quite a mess!
Then we got busy printmaking! We tried two different types of printmaking. First we wrapped our printing block up in a tight parcel with some paper and rubbed a crayon over it, transferring the image onto the paper. We found that if we use more than one colour it gave a really neat effect. Then we used proper printing ink and rollers. We carefully rolled the ink onto our printing block and then using a dry roller, pressed the image onto some paper. These looked pretty jolly fancy! Come in and check them out!