May 20th is World Bee Day!
On this day Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, was born in 1734. World Bee Day is an opportunity to celebrate the important role bees and other pollinators play in our ecosystem and to raise awareness of the threats they face. Did you know that bees help pollinate more than 75% of the world’s food crops, helping ensure the biodiversity and health of the vegetables, fruits and nuts we eat? That’s a big job for a little bug.
There are nearly 4,000 bee species in North America. Bees act as bioindicators, helping alert humans to issues in the environment and give us insight into the health of our local ecosystems. But pesticides, disease, and changing temperatures due to climate change are all problems for bee populations.
Learn more about how these mighty little pollinators contribute to the biodiversity of our ecosystems, food sources, and health of our planet, how they make honey and see the world, and what we can all do to protect them with the resources, videos, and activities below!
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It’s All About the Bees, Honey
Queen Priscilla Buzzoo – The Cat in the Hat | PBS KIDS Lab
Use this Cat in the Hat video to help children understand life sciences and the role the Queen plays in a bee hive. Nick and Sally interview Queen Priscilla Buzzoo about the role that queens play in a bee hive to make it thrive.
All about the Bee | Education through Puppetry
Bees pollinate flowers and the fruit and vegetables that we eat. They are vital to our planet, yet they are in danger! Learn how we can protect bees in this hilarious music video.
Flight of the Pollinators | Wild Kratts
Join Chris and Martin as they explore the process of pollination and learn the important partnership between plants and animals. Watch these video clips to see how the Kratt brothers uncover the amazing delivery system of plants and their animal partners.
Bees: What’s the Buzz about Bees? | Science Trek
Learn all about bees with this media gallery featuring videos on their life cycle, how they make honey, and their very busy lives as they play a key role in food production.
Bees: Honey and Smoke | Science Trek
What is it like to raise bees for honey? Meet an Idaho beekeeper and learn more about her job and why smoke is important in her work. Also, find more about the wide variety of bees and where they live!
NOVA Online | RoboBees to the Rescue
As colony collapse disorder decimates beehives, scientists at Harvard University are developing mini drones, called RoboBees, to help pollinate our crops. Piezoelectric materials are used to convert electricity into motion to flap the wings, keeping the drones small and light and able to fly. Learn about these robot bees with this video from NOVA Online.
How Bees Can See the Invisible | It’s Okay to Be Smart
Bees are amazing social insects, and their relationship with flowers is one of nature’s coolest examples of “mutualism”. It got Joe Hanson, host of It’s Okay to Be Smart, wondering: How do bees see the world? Enjoy this look at how bees see in ultraviolet and even sense electric fields!
Why Are the Bees Dying? | It’s Okay to Be Smart
Bees, wild and domesticated, are in big trouble. Bee colonies are dying off at alarming rates, and the cause isn’t clear. Pesticides, habitat loss, disease… there’s a laundry list of likely culprits. We rely on these tiny pollinators for a majority of our fruits, veggies, and nuts… if they disappear, could we be next?
How Do Bees Make Honey? | It’s Okay to Be Smart
Learn how bees make honey, one of nature’s most amazing recipes, with this video from It’s Okay to Be Smart.
Activities, Games & More
Smell Like a Honeybee
Help your child appreciate the special smelling talents of honeybees, while learning how “unbeelievably” important they are to the natural world!
Waggle Dance | Plum Landing
Lead your family on an exploration of the ways plants and animals depend on each other to survive in this hands-on outdoor activity from Plum Landing! Consider how busy bees “tell” each other where to find pollen, then play bees who find “pollen” and do a dance—the Waggle Dance—to tell others.
Prairie Portrait Interactive Science Lesson
Investigate a prairie inhabitant—the bee. Gather information about a bee’s internal and external parts and use this information as evidence to make a claim about how the bee’s internal and external parts work together as a system to ensure survival.
Reclaiming Habitat for Honeybees
Explore the role of pollinators in the ecosystems they are a part of. In this interactive lesson, develop a written response to one of three questions about the importance of honeybees. Gather evidence from reading assignments and video segments about Coal Country BeeWorks’ efforts to reclaim surface mining sites.
Bee Engaged With Local Organizations
Bees face lots of challenges – from habitat loss, to climate change, to pesticides used in agriculture and beyond. If you’re interested in helping protect the bees, and learn more about how they play a key role in our ecosystem, check out these local organizations!
AdkAction’s mission is to create innovative projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the natural beauty of the Adirondacks for all. Get involved with some of their active projects like The Adirondack Pollinator Project, which helps promote the health of pollinators in our ecosystem, provides resources to become a pollinator advocate, and helps communities plant more local wildflowers to help supply pollinators with the food sources they need to survive and thrive.
The Lake Placid Land Conservancy
The Lake Placid Land Conservancy is focused on monitoring land and water in Lake Placid and the Ausable and Saranac River Watersheds to promote a better understanding of the ecology and biodiversity of private lands in the Adirondacks. To get involved and become a steward of your own property, join the Conservation Monitoring Program which helps citizens monitor their land for wildlife, invasive species, birds, and pollinators. And for more ways to protect and restore pollinators, including our friends the bees, check out their list of ways you can help!
The Wild Center
The Wild Center is a natural history center in Tupper Lake, New York, near the center of New York state’s Adirondack Park. The experiences, exhibits and programs at The Wild Center are designed to open new ways to look into the latest discoveries made by natural scientists and their educational programming, whether onsite or online, serves to engage learners of all ages in an exploration of the natural world. Check out their live honey bee hive exhibits both indoors and outside as well as educational programming and gifts related to pollinators! If you can’t make it out to TWC just yet, enjoy this video of museum curator Leah Valerio as she checks the beehives!
Start Your Own Pollinator Garden!
Interested in starting your own pollinator garden but don’t know how? Sign up below to receive a free packet of wildflower seeds from The Adirondack Pollinator Project, courtesy of AdkAction!
What is a pollinator garden?
A pollinator garden features flowers that provide nectar or pollen to a variety of pollinating insects, like bees, butterflies and moths. Native flowering plants – ones that come from the area you are starting your garden in – are best, and you should avoid pesticides and other chemicals when caring for them. In the Adirondacks this could include bee balm, milkweed, white turtlehead, mountain mint, and phlox. These gardens are beautiful and can help attract birds and other wildlife too!
Get involved with the Mountain Lake PBS Pollinator Garden!
This summer, AdkAction’s Mobile Pollinator Garden Trailer, or “Pollinator-Mobile,” will travel around the Adirondacks, helping plant eleven community pollinator gardens as part of their hands-on pollinator conservation efforts – and Mountain Lake PBS is bee-yond excited to announce we’ll be hosting our own garden!
Check back in later this summer for more details on when our garden will be officially unveiled, and a chance to get your hands dirty by helping plant our wildflowers and pollinating plants. Limited registration, mask wearing and social distancing practices will be observed. Children of all ages are invited to participate and will leave with a variety of PBS KIDS resources to keep the fun and learning going at home!