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Grade 7 Agastyans’ Exploring the World of Honey Bees

Updated: Jul 5

World of Honey Bees : Exploring by Grade 7 Agastyans

At Agastya Academy recently, we, the Grade 7 students, dove into yet another fascinating study. This time, we explored the complex world of honey bees, guided by Vishnu Sir, an expert beekeeper from Karur. During our exploration, we discovered the critical role these pollinators play in our ecosystem, learned about the intricacies of their social structures, and explored the various products they provide, such as honey and beeswax.

An Enlightening Session with Vishnu Sir

The day began with us eagerly gathering at Tagore Hall, where we met Vishnu Sir. He shared his inspiring journey of how he started beekeeping and fish farming, despite facing many challenges, including numerous bee stings. His passion for rescuing and nurturing bees was evident as he recounted his experiences.

Vishnu Sir introduced us to different types of bees, including Indian bees, Italian bees, rock bees, stingless bees, and little bees. He explained how he safely rescues bees from potentially harmful environments and relocates them to his garden, ensuring their survival and contributing to biodiversity.

Hands-On Learning and Interactive Activities

After an informative session, we were divided into three groups for a more practical learning experience. The first group, led by Vishnu Sir, explored the bee boxes. We had the unique opportunity to observe Indian bees up close, handle honeycombs, and even hold bees in our hands. This direct interaction allowed us to witness the bees' behaviour and understand their life cycle, including the development stages from larvae to pupae.

Meanwhile, other groups engaged in activities like chess and truth or dare, nurturing bonds and building patience as we awaited our turn. After our fruit break, the groups rotated, ensuring everyone had a chance to experience the bee boxes and Vishnu Sir’s detailed explanations.

World of Honey Bees Key Learnings and Facts

World of Honey Bees Key Learnings and Facts

Throughout the day, we absorbed a wealth of knowledge about bees:

· Bee Varieties

There are approximately 20,000 species of bees worldwide, with around 270 species found in India. In Tamil Nadu alone, there are about 250 species, including மலைத்தேன் (mountain honey bees), கொம்புத்தேன் (comb honey bees), and கொசுத்தேன் (little bees).

· Honey Bee Families

Honey bees are divided into families, including the queen, male drones, and female worker bees. The queen bee lays eggs and governs the colony.

· Life Cycle

Worker bees live for about 45 days, while a queen bee can live up to three years. Male bees die shortly after mating. If a queen dies, another strong bee is selected as the new queen.

· Pollination

Bees are crucial pollinators, which helps in the reproduction of plants and the production of fruits and vegetables. They help in transferring pollen from one flower to another, while sucking the nectar of the flower.

· Defence Mechanisms

Bees sting as a defence mechanism, and unfortunately, they die after stinging as their stinger gets lodged in the skin. All bees will attack if another variety of bee enters their hive; they will kill the intruder by piling on it and producing heat.

· Honey and Hive Products

Besides honey, bees produce venom, royal jelly, and propolis, each with unique properties and uses.

Golden Cascade Called Honey

World of Honey Bees:Golden Cascade Called Honey

Honey's flavour and colour depend significantly on the flowers from which the nectar is collected. Vishnu Sir enlightened us on how each type of flower imparts unique characteristics to the honey produced. The queen bee, vital to the hive, sustains herself on royal jelly, and as soon as new bees hatch, they begin their life by cleaning the comb.

We discovered that if the comb is removed, the colony will relocate to find a new home. Bees communicate through an intricate dance method to identify and convey the location of safe places for new hives.

Additionally, we learned that many common methods for testing the authenticity of honey are not reliable. Vishnu Sir debunked several myths and provided us with accurate and scientific approaches to honey testing, ensuring we understand the genuine characteristics of this golden cascade.

Safety and Conservation Tips

Vishnu Sir also emphasized the importance of safety around bees. He shared tips on how to behave near hives to avoid provoking the bees. For instance, moving slowly and calmly near a hive reduces the likelihood of being stung. If bees do chase, the best escape is to find shelter or jump into water. If honey bees follow us, we should wash our hands with running water or apply sand on our hands.

Our Reflections

Yajnessh: "We saw bee boxes, handled honeycombs, and observed Indian bees up close. It was an amazing experience."

Sai Siddharth: "We learned that bees are essential pollinators and about their life cycles. The practical session was eye-opening, and I even got to hold bees in my hand."

Thuviksha: " We were taught how to behave around hives and the importance of bee conservation. It was fascinating to learn about the different bee varieties and their roles within the hive."

Laya Sruthi: "This experience was very enlightening. We learned about the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem. Observing the bee comb and trying to spot the queen bee was thrilling. I now have a greater appreciation for bees and their role in nature."

In Conclusion

Exploring the world of honey bees provided us with invaluable insights into the world of bees, highlighting their importance in our ecosystem and the need for their conservation. This hands-on experience enriched our knowledge and also instilled a sense of responsibility towards protecting these vital pollinators.

Contributors: A. Yajnessh, Sri Rithwin, Sai Siddharth, Thuviksha, and Laya Sruthi shared their reflections and learnings, capturing the essence of their enriching experience.


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