We don't usually summon insects to our picnics but they have a habit of inviting themselves. With bee populations dwindling across the world, perhaps its time we were a bit more inclusive and welcoming. Our fun facts and bee-themed games below will help the whole family to learn more about bees, at the same time as running off some of that cake!
UP TO 11 YEARS OLD
We Need Bees
Fun fact: If the bees and other insects didn't pollinate our plants, we would have to get used to life without all kinds of food. Including chips!
Game: Busy bees
Fun fact: Just like us bees need to get between five and eight hours of sleep a day.
Game: Sleeping bees
Fun fact: Bees have special brushes on their front legs to help them collect any pollen that has gathered on their heads.
Game: Pass the pollen
Fun fact: Did you know that bees have a super power? They can see things faster than any other creature in the world.
Game: Blindfolded bees
Fun fact: One way to identify a bee is to look at its bottom. White-tailed bumble bees have white bottoms, red-tailed bumble bees have orange bottoms, and some carpenter bees have black shiny bottoms.
Game: The bee's bottom
11 YEARS OLD (and older)
Fun fact: When a worker honey bee gets back to the hive, it performs a waggle dance to tell the other bees where to find food.
Game: Hum, waggle, buzz
All the Bees
Fun fact: Not all bees like to party. There are over 240 species of solitary bee in the UK.
Game: Which bee am I?
Tawny mining bees - nest underground (pretend to dig)
Bumble bees - are really friendly and sociable (hold hands)
Red mason bees - collect pollen all over their bodies (brush yourself down)
Honey bees - can fly up to six miles (pretend to fly)
Leafcutter bees - build cell nests in leaves (scissor fingers)
Fun fact: Most bees are really cooperative. The workers collect food and protect everybody else in the hive by stinging intruders.
Game: Tell the truth
Bees have four wings that hook together in pairs when they are flying
One beehive can make 24 jars of honey in a season
Some bees don't make any honey at all
Two UK bumble bee species are already known to be extinct
B-lines are insect pathways planted by people to link wildlife areas together
To Bee or Not to Bee
(Not so) fun fact: Bee numbers are falling across Britain. 35 of our bee species are under threat of extinction.
Game: Missing bees
Life would be rubbish without bees. And so would the English language. Take it in turns to read the information below out loud, following some or all of the instructions below.
Every time a word begins with the letter 'b' say 'buzz' instead.
Every time the letter 'b' appears in the middle of a word hum instead.
Every time the letters 'b', 'e, and 'e' appear together in a word do a waggle dance.
Some people are scared of bees but these fuzzy bottomed beauties are really our best buddies. They don't spin webs like spiders or build nests in bushes like birds but without bees, we would have a problem with our food supply. Imagine a world without bread, beans or cabbages! We need to remember that plants need pollen to make seeds, and we need bees to bring that pollen to the plants!
Fun fact: Bumble bees have lots of predators. These include badgers, spiders and wasps. Robins sometimes catch bees then rub them on branches to remove their stings.
One person throws a ball high into the air at the same time as shouting someone else's name. The player whose name was called has to catch the ball then shout 'HIVE'. The other players run away as soon as the ball is thrown, stopping only when they hear 'HIVE'. The person with the ball then throws it at someone else. If the ball makes contact, the person it hits gets the letter 'H'. The game carries on and further letters are allocated. The loser is the first player to get all the letters to make up 'HIVE'.