Recently I was invited to attend a class of children, 7 and 8 years of age to talk about keeping bees.
So just after the half term holidays had ended and schools had returned to activity, I popped in for a chat at the end of a Tuesday afternoon to Cross Ash Primary School. I was greeted with a wonderfully warm welcome and “oh you’re the Bee Man” followed quickly by lots of children who caught a glimpse of the bee hive that I was carrying, their response to this sight was jubilation.
Whilst it was still break time for them, I was led straight to the class for me to set up. I certainly do not remember my class room at that age, but I certainly hope it was as eye-catching as theirs.
Every available space was packed with information. I spent a few minutes reading Welsh from the walls and admiring their hard work.
When the teacher and children arrived, I was greeted in Welsh by the whole class, which meant I was to have an unexpected practical exam in Welsh, luckily for me my Welsh head was working in partnership with my consciousness that day which meant I replied and did not feel daft if my brain went blank.
And so it was my time… To speak to the children that is. Huge disappointment appeared on their faces when their teacher told them they had to wait until the end of my talk for them to ask questions.
They were all sat down eager with excitement, while I was stood contemplating on how best to present my knowledge in a manner in which they would understand.
So I began talking about the equipment that bee-keepers use, and showing them around a training hive which I brought to show them. A training hive is an amazing aid to use. Basically it is a brood chamber filled with frames which have photographs on them showing the reality of life inside a colony of Honey Bees, the children went absolutely mental for it.
I find it a real pleasure speaking with children, their thirst for knowledge is second to none, their thought processes amaze me and it actually helps me breakdown the world of bee-keeping as I need to articulate myself talking about a very broad and adult orientated subject on a level that inspires, excites and is educational to the future of our world.
After I finished my talk, it was open to the floor for questions, amazingly not a single hand stayed down, all shouting “me, me, me”. (I cannot remember any time that I attended an event with adults where there was such a similar level of enthusiasm).
Some of the questions were:
“How many bees are there in the world?”
so I replied “well there are some 20,000 known species of bee the world”
to which I was interrupted with “no I meant how many bees are there actually living in the world right now?”
While my brain was contemplating doing some insane and impossible mental arithmetic with average numbers in colonies, by species of bees, I overheard a reply from the floor stating that “there must be zillions of them”.
“Where is the worst place that you have been stung?”
My initial thoughts were, ‘in Newport’ or ‘up a tree,’ but I decided on going with “on my right hand”.
Some of the other questions included:
‘How long do Queens live?’
‘Why do you steal their honey?’
‘Have you named your Bees?’
‘How high do Bees fly?’
‘Will they sting me?’
along with many others.
Between the unexpected welsh exam and the absolute concentration from them, to their fantastic questions, I had an amazing time…
I cannot wait for the next time I get an opportunity to speak to a class about something which I love doing. I strongly urge you to share your knowledge with children if you also have the opportunity, it is unbelievably rewarding.