Games, Plants and Animals

Solitary bees introduce themselves

Thanks to this activity children learn how diverse the bees are and how they are perfectly adapted to their environment and way of life.

MATERIALS

  • A4 cards with photos of bees
  • a description of their typical activities and life strategies

Instruction

The teacher holds the cards with the photograph of a bee facing themselves, and the description of her life strategy or activity on the other side. The children are positioned around the room while the teacher shows them photos of bees one by one, briefly explaining what the bee is doing. The children then demonstrate the activity.

Pantaloon bees are very skilful in collecting pollen and are the record holders, as they can carry a heavy load of pollen as on their legs (up to half a gram of pollen at a time; the honeybee can carry hardly half of it and they are both roughly the same size). They have long-haired collecting brushes on their legs.

The children walk slowly and feebly raise their legs as if they were heavy.

 

Mason-bees have collecting brushes on their tummy. They literally ‘swim’ on a flower while combing its pollen by shaking their tails.

The children crawl on the ground while shaking their bottoms [bums].

 

Leafcutting bees line their nesting cavity with bitten slices of leaves.

The children pretend cutting out a shape.

 

Halictus species carry a load of pollen on both legs and abdomen.

The children can try to wear a tennis ball on different places of their body – they climb on their knees and carry it on their backs, walk with it on their heads…

 

Hairy-footed flower bees (species Anthophora) are very hardy. They fly out at the end of winter and early spring (late February and early March), while the other bees are still asleep. They warm up by running around and exercising. Anthophoras are excellent pilots. They can fly extremely fast, stop in flight and hover in the same place for a minute.

The children pretend to be cold and then run around for exercise to keep warm. Doing squats, stretching, slipping, jumping in place… They will also try flying manoeuvres such as fast and on-site flight.

 

Mining bees dig up long corridors in the sand or dense soil with their mandibles. The main corridor branches into two or three chambers. Their walls are solidified and smoothed by wax so that they do not fall. All this is a hard work, so the mother bee sometimes needs to take a rest and sometimes she sticks out her head out of the corridor and watches the entrance.

The children crawl on the ground and with hands “dig up the nest” (like a mole), then rest for a while, climb back and raise their heads and look around – patrolling.

 

Carpenter bee has strong mandibles to chew the wood.

The children pretend “chewing”.

 

Long-horned bees has long antennae.

The children make feelers out of their fingers.

 

Box headed blood bee (Sphecodes species) is a “cuckoo” bee. It puts eggs in the nests of other solitary bees.

The children are “sneaking around” and looking for a foreign nest.

 

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