Source: WILD TV: "The Animals We Live With"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
What you see in this video from Wild TV will amaze you! Wali, an actor, is working with an entomologist (insect expert) who is also a trained bee handler. With the entomologist's help, Wali picks up a bee cage that contains the queen bee of the colony. The worker bees swarm onto Wali’s hand while he is holding the queen bee’s cage. This shows one way that bee colonies work together in an organized way to survive.
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What is a true statement that we know about bees? How do you feel about bees or what is your opinion about bees? What is the difference between a fact and an opinion?
Focus (ELA) As you watch the video, decide who is mostly telling us facts about bees. Who is mostly speaking and showing their opinion about bees?
Follow Up (ELA) How can we tell when something we hear or read is an example of a fact or an opinion? What are the clues? Discuss how you might define these terms. When might the difference between these two terms be confusing? For example, is it fact or opinion that bees are dangerous?
Frame (SCI) What do you know about bees? Have you ever seen a swarm of bees or a bee hive?
Focus (SCI) Observe the behaviors of the bees in the video. Think about what is causing the bees to behave the way they do.
Follow Up (SCI) How do you think the physical characteristics of the environment affect the bees’ patterns of behavior? For example, how does temperature, the availability of food resources like flowers and plants, or the presence of humans affect their behavior? What other factors of the bees’ environments could influence their behavior? What does this mean about how we should behave around bees?
Graphic: Web Card: Believe it or not, wild honey bees are endangered. Find out why at PBS.org.
Wali (VO): Bees. Now, I don’t know much about them, except I know I’m always afraid of being stung. I think most people misunderstand bees, so I asked my buddy, Mace Vaughan, to help me out.
Wali: Mace is an entomologist – an expert on insects. He even showed up with his own honeybee swarm. Now, we’re all wearing white because bees are attracted to bright colors. Don’t wear anything dark – you’ll just look like a bear to a bee, trying to steal honey. Whoa – see Mace in that bee beard? How did he do that? We’ll get back to this later.
Title Card: The Swarm
Mace: We gotta go to the beginning. So, when a colony, when a hive, when it reproduces, when it gets too big for its cavity that it’s inside – it’s gotta get out.
Mace: So what they do is they send out a swarm.
Mace: Not all the bees, but maybe half the bees in that colony will leave with the queen.
Mace: Now what they gotta do is they gotta stay together. Now the way they stay together is they use pheromones. Okay, they use perfume, if you want to think of it that way. These bees are smelling for each other. That’s how they talk, in a way.
Mace: Now the queen has her own pheromone and the workers have theirs and they use these to keep her with them in the swarm. If you were to go to a normal hive, when it was working in the middle of the summer, it’s gonna be full of eggs, and larval bees and pollen and honey and nectar that they’ve just brought back.
Title Card: eggs, larval bees, pollen, honey, nectar
Mace: This is a lot of stuff and they need to protect it. Because if they don’t and someone comes in and starts to gather and steal that honey or eat those brood then the colony’s not gonna survive the winter and they’re gonna die.
Wali: Got ya.
Mace: But when they’re swarming, they’ve got nothing to defend. A swarm of honeybees is an incredibly gentle thing.
Wali (VO): Oh man, to prove his point, Mace is trying to get me to hold a bee swarm. First, I gotta get the queen.
Mace: You ready to go?
Wali: I’m ready.
Mace: Ok. We got sound rolling? You good to go?
Wali: Good to go!
Mace: Okay, let’s see you do it. Remember, don’t pinch them, just go slow and gently move them out of the way.
Wali: Okay, there’s a lot of buzzing, vibrating going on in there.
Mace: That’s good.
Wali: That’s fine?
Mace: Yep. They keep themselves warm. They’re ready for flight.
Wali: Okay, here we go.
Wali: Going in slow. I’ve got the cage.
Mace: You’ve got it. Excellent. The queen is yours.
Wali: I feel them holding on to the…
Mace: That’s good. You can pull – they’ll let go.
Wali: I’ve got the cage.
Title Card: queen inside cage
Mace: Now all these bees are gonna fly up in the air. I’ll help you out here.
Wali: Okay, yeah, okay, good, good idea.
Mace: You can use this hand too, just move it back and forth.
Wali: I forgot I had another hand. Okay, here we go. It’s like a windshield wiper.
Wali: I’m watching them, um, doing the thing with their back end there, They’re pushing out the pheromone you say?
Mace: Yep, they’re all sticking their abdomens up. They’re beating their wings to blow it out, blow it out so all these other bees in the air can figure out where to go.
Wali (VO): Wow, I never thought I’d be holding a swarm of bees, And I didn’t get stung! And you know what? I kinda like these gals.
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