Hvalsø School and Hvalsø Library have joined efforts to form a bee school for Secondary School pupils, working on the maintenance and upkeep of a small apiary. The learning target is to give the pupils an introduction to the environment and to an old craft.
The Bee Hive.
Honeybees have three social castes, each with a specific set of roles that divide the labor inside a colony. Each hive will have one queen, a few hundred male bees called drones, and as many as 60,000 worker bees. The queen will leave the hive as a virgin queen to mate with up to 80 drones before returning to the hive to lay her eggs.
The worker bees are sterile females who do all of the cleaning, the feeding of the larvae, the wax production, the foraging and honey production as well as defending the hive against intruders.
The drones stem from unfertilized eggs laid in summer, when there are new queens to fertilize. In autumn the drones are evicted by the workers. During the summer season with many bees in the hive, the worker bees may raise a new queen. The experienced queen will then leave the hive with a swarm of working bees to find a new home.
The nectar provides the basis of the production of honey in the combs which is protected by a layer of beeswax. The raw honey is collected by the beekeeper and is substituted by sugar syrup which the bees thrive on.
A threatened species.
Honeybees and native bees form an integral part of the pollination system, responsible for the successful seeding of more than 90% of all flowering plants, and for the fruiting of 30% of our food. Bees collect nectar and pollen to take back to the hive, the pollination by far exceeding the value of honey produced in the hives. Reduced natural forage, such as flowering meadows, and the widespread use of pesticides in agriculture pose a serious threat to the bee population.
Facts about bees
- a bee will fly 30,000 kilometres on a liter of honey/sugar syrup.
- a bee family will need 8 kilos of syrup/honey as fuel to produce 1 kilo of honey for the beekeeper.
- the choreography of bees will inform other bees of the direction and distance to foraging spots.
- bees form an integral part of the pollination of fruit-carrying trees and bushes as well as flowers.
- bees are suffering a massive world-wide decline – last winter 1 in 5 Danish bee families died.