22 November 2017
Our new observation hive allows students on school visits to the Rural Education Centre (REC) here at Plumpton College the opportunity to learn about the many ways Honey Bees contribute and how important they are to the environment.
The observation hive is the ideal way to watch these amazing creatures going about their day-to-day lives from inside the REC classroom. At the REC we offer quality school visits linked to the curriculum with Science, Literacy and Maths together with activities. Students from KS1-KS4 can learn all about planting, growing, pollination and germination, an exciting way to discover the way bees work.
A hive the size of the one set up in the REC would usually be home to approximately 15,000 bees in the peak of summer and a full sized hive could have up to 60,000 bees. With the observation hive’s glass sides students will be able to view the bees enter and leave the hive and understand how they collect pollen- small lumps being clearly visible on their back legs.
The foragers travel three or more miles to collect nectar to make honey, which they store in wax cells in the hive. They collect pollen to feed the young and tree sap to make Propolis which they use throughout the hive. Each bee hive has a single queen who can lay 1000's of eggs a day, from which new workers hatch and live for about 6 weeks in the summer. The queen is identifiable by the yellow dot on her thorax. As well as the workers and their queen, there are also several hundred drone bees (the males) who contribute little to the hive and live from spring to autumn, mating with new queens from other hives in special drone congregation areas located up to mile away.
Whilst drones don’t have a sting, worker bees will sting to defend the colony – a selfless act as they will die leaving the sting behind. Beekeepers wear special veils or suits with gloves to protect themselves from these stings and rarely get stung when checking the hives.
If you would be interested in finding out more about arranging a school visit to the REC please see our school visits page.
We also run a range of beekeeping short courses here at Plumpton College. Please visit out beekeeping page.
Learn more about our history
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.