The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

June 28, 2013

Stanly 4-H members learn about the work of bees

By Stan Napier for the SNAP

Friday, June 28, 2013 — “Honey bees are responsible for one third of our food supply,” said Laura Krug of the Stanly County Beekeepers. That is why it is important that children understand the importance of bees and their role in ecology.  

According to 4-H agent Ashley Smith, “this is our most popular (camp) day.”

The bee presentation is part of the Clover Blast week of the 4-H for ages 5-8 (Clover Buds) at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center.

“This slot fills up fast,” Smith said.

The Clover Buds are ages 5-8 in the 4-H Club. Each summer there are 4-H camps available through the Extension Agency. This camp is called Clover Blast. 

The main presentation to 16 energetic children was made by Donna “Ms. B” Barfield (pun intended), who explained and demonstrated to the children the role of the queen, the drones and the workers and how a hive works.

The presentation was followed by a honey tasting from the hives of Ms. B. There was also an activity to demonstrate how the bees know which hive to go to. “Queen bees” were selected from the children and each “queen” was given a Q-tip with a particular scent on it. The other members of the class were given Q-tips with different smells like one of the “queen bees.” The children had to find the pheromone (smell) of the queen like theirs. That would identify which hive they belonged in.  

Laura “Ms. K” Krug then displayed an observation hive with hundreds of bees working a comb. Ms. K pointed out the workers, drones and larvae. No queen was to be found.

At the same time Ms. B, Ashley Smith and intern Kelsie Barbee were teaching the students how to make beeswax candles from rolling sheets of beeswax.

“We love this day, too. It is different, scientific and agricultural,” Smith said.  

“We never have openings for this one.”

4-H Clover Blast kept these children “busy as bees.”

For more information on 4-H Club clubs available, contact: Ashley Smith, Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, Stanly County Center of the North Carolina Extension Service, 26032 E. Newt Road, Albemarle, NC 28001 or call (704) 983-3987.

Stan Napier is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.