The Buzz on Bees
Ages 4-10

Today our activity is inspired by the Live Hive exhibit in the museum! It’s summertime, and the bees at Discovery Gateway are happily buzzing about, bringing bounties of beautiful pollen and nectar back to the hive. But not all bees are the same! Even within a single hive there are many different jobs that honeybees fill. Learn about the different bees and make some puppets in this fun activity.



  1. It’s best to begin by talking a bit about bees with your kids. Think of all the different times you’ve seen bees. Where were they? When was it? What were they doing? Did you know that there are over 16,000 species of bees in the world? And some things we call bees, like yellow jackets and paper wasps, aren’t bees at all!
  2. Go through the (to) Bee or not (to) Bee worksheet, guessing which pictures are bees and which are something else. Keep practicing and see if you can get better each time!
  3. Talk a bit about the different kind of honeybees. While there are many types of bees, by far the most common is the honeybee (apis mellifica). But even within a honeybee hive there are many different bees with different jobs. They can be split into 3 categories:
    1. The Queen – There is only ever one queen in a hive, and she has one job: lay eggs to make more bees. She emits a special pheromone, or chemical signal, that prevents any other bee from developing into a queen.
    2. Drones – These are the only males in the hive, and they only make up about 15% of all the bees in the hive. They also have one, singular task: help the queen lay eggs.
    3. Workers – That leaves all the rest of the work to the female bees! But worker bees don’t just go out to collect nectar and pollen. They also care for babies, clean up the hive, and protect the hive from intruders. It’s the ladies who keep the hive running smooth.
  4. Cut out and color the queen, drone, and worker bee puppets, taking note of the physical differences between the three.
  5. Glue the popsicle stick to the base. Now head outside and have your bees buzz around! Try finding some tasty looking flowers or see if you can find any wild bees outdoors.

More Fun:

  • Bees and ants are closely related, both belonging to the order hymenoptera. What similarities are there between bees and ants? Differences?
  • It’s a bee! It’s a wasp! It’s a… harmless little bug? Many insects mimic, or look just like, bees. How could this help protect them when they don’t have a stinger?


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