Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Learning | Honeybees

"It's a very funny thought that,  if Bears were Bees, They'd build their nests at the bottom of trees. And that being so (if the Bees were Bears), We shouldn't have to climb up all these stairs."

--from the song, "Isn't it Funny How a Bear Likes Honey?"  in Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

Winnie the Pooh had a few problems with honeybees--namely, finding their hives, and then figuring out the best way to get their honey, without being stung. Some pondering, singing, and talking with his friends usually gets him past any obstacles he faces.

Have you heard about the real life honeybee problem? All over the world, these bees are dying off.  Scientists are still investigating the reasons for this problem, which has been given the name of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD, for short.) 

Would you like to learn more about it? Would you like to learn how to help keep honeybee numbers up?  Then SSJCPL has a book for you:

Apis mellifera--Western Honeybee 
Photo courtesy of woolcarderbee's photostream
 on Some rights reserved.
by Sandra Markle. 

Markle tells about the discovery of the problem, and explains how a honeybee colony is supposed to work, with female worker bees, drones, a queen, and larvae.  She explains what the worker bees do--like gathering nectar from flowers--and how their work helps both their fellow bees and people.  

She then discusses possible causes of CCD--changes in habitat, parasitic mites, fungus, pesticides or even cell phones! The cell phone theory has been disproved, but it may be that the other possible causes are all contributing to CCD.

Even though the investigation into the cause of CCD has not ended, there are a number of things being done to ensure that we do not keep losing so many bees. Markle explains the things that beekeepers and others are doing to make sure there are more healthy bee colonies, like giving bees a rest, keeping their hives cleaner, and splitting colonies, to name a few.

As if that was not enough, she also gives suggestions for everybody, so they can help keep bees healthy.  My favorite suggestion is to buy local honey; I usually get that at the Farmer's Market here in Stockton.  Mmmmmmm!  When I think about honey, I start thinking about Winnie the Pooh again.  I wonder how much honey I have left in that jar....

I really like the glossary in the back, which defines bee-related terms. Markle also provides a list of books and websites in the back of the book, for those who wish to study the problem further. 

This book is for grades 4-8, but I think there are some bright students in younger grades, who might enjoy having this book read to them.

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