Honey bees are hardworking, useful insects that pollinate nearly one-third of all the food we eat, and make our life sweeter with the honey they produce. In a single day, a single hive can pollinate four million flowers, and make up to two pounds of honey. But scientists are confused by an international bee crises, with bees disappearing from their colonies in record numbers in a trend first noticed in 2006.
Zachary Huang, from the Entomology Department at Michigan State University, created this kids section as part of his CyberBeeNet site. Elementary kids should visit for bee facts ("The average number of bees in a hive is between 30,000 and 60,000."), bee anatomy, and bee games such as a maze, word search and Buzzy Tic-Tac-Toe. For kindergartners and preschoolers, my favorite click is the animated rebus story "A Bit About Bees."
HÃ¤agen-Dazs ice cream company asks us to imagine the world without strawberries, almonds or pears, just to name a few of their bee-dependent ingredients, and then explains the honey bee crisis called Colony Collapse Disorder. "We've created this site because honey bee populations are disappearing at an alarming rate and we want to keep those little heroes buzzing." The entire site is excellent, but highlights include a downloadable lesson plan called The Bee Book, and the How You Can Help section which encourages us to plant bee-friendly plants such as lavender, glory buses, jasmine, rosemary and sunflowers.
"Welcome to the hive! Here, you'll learn more about the daily life of a honey bee." Before you go any further, turn off the monotonous drum beat by clicking on the purple hexagon in the lower-left corner. That's better, isn't it? This terrific click-and-explore animation for kids of all ages introduces the concepts of pollination, the honey bee life cycle, honey production, and the social structure of a hive. But remember about the purple hexagon button. The music has an annoying habit of returning.
In this PBS documentary, the film maker shot "inside a hive and followed bees in flight to capture closeups of honeybee behavior." Along with a complete transcript of the film, the companion website features Anatomy of a Hive (an annotated photo gallery describing the physical and social infrastructure of a beehive colony), Dances with Bees (a multimedia activity exploring bee communication), and the Buzz About Bees ("a flush fund of fascinating facts").
The USDA presents a brief overview of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and what scientists are doing about the mysterious trend. "The main symptom of CCD is simply no or a low number of adult honey bees present but with a live queen and no dead honey bees in the hive. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present." Don't miss the two-minute video overview. The link is prominently displayed in the middle of the main article.