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This is the official website for the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association, established in 1873. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

LA COUNTY FAIR - BEE BOOTH

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Sep092017

« For The Love Of Bees  »

Bug Squad    BY Kathy Keatley Garvey     September 5, 2017

Sarah the Bee Girl stands in front of a cluster of first graders sitting by a six-foot worker bee sculpture in the UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven.

Her name is Sarah Red-Laird, and she is here to present an interactive educational program involving bees and beekeeping, honey, beeswax and bee habitat to students from Peregrine School, Davis. It's part of her "Bees and Kids" program, funded by the American Beekeeping Federation's Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees.

She's speaking to them as part of the Western Apicultural Society's 40th annual conference, Sept. 5-8.

The students are super excited.

Holding up fruit after fruit, she asks if they like strawberries, apples, oranges and lemons, all bee-pollinated. They eagerly raise their hands. She tells them that bees are responsible for providing one-third of the food we eat, including fruits, vegetables and nuts (almonds). Our shopping carts would be sparse if there were no bees, she says. She quizzes them about grapes, rice and oats, which are not bee-pollinated.

Then she turns to honey.

"How much honey does a bee make in her lifetime?" she asks. "Is it 1 cup, 1 teaspoon or 1/12th of a teaspoon?  if you think it's one cup, raise your hand." Half a dozen hands shoot up.

"If you think it's one teaspoon, raise your hand." A few more raise their hands.

"If you think it's 1/12th of a teaspoon, raise your hand." One person responds.

"The correct answer," says Sarah the Bee Girl, "is 1/12th of a teaspoon. That's how much a honey bee makes in her lifetime."

"I guessed that!" yells a little girl.

"Did you?" Sarah asks, approvingly. "You're a smartie," she praises.

"We didn't," a boy laments.

A honey bee seeking drips from the bottled honey at the "Kids and Bees" honey-tasting event. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)Sarah drives home the point with: "That means that honey bees work really, really hard for the honey we eat. For me, I eat it every day."

Sarah continues. "How many flowers does it take the bees to make one pound of honey?" she asks, holding up a jar of honey.

The students respond with answers that range from 99 to 100 to 200 to 1000 to 2000 to 8000 to 1 billion.

"The correct answer is 2 million," she tells them. "it takes 2 million flowers to fill this one jar of honey."

Sarah drives home the point with: "The best thing to do to help bees is to plant flowers. Let's say it all together. what can you do to help bees?

"Plant flowers!" they chorus.

Later she reads a book and then asks them to answer questions about nurse bees, house bees, scout bees, guard bees, queen bees, foragers and drones. Each person who answers the question correctly is adorned with props depicting that bee.

The first graders love it! They gigle, laugh and cheer.

Next they move in small groups to the educational stations where they taste honey, learn about bee habitat and bees wax, and see honey bees and other bees up close.

It's obvious that Sarah loves bees and wants others to love them, too.

Sarah says her love of bees began in Southern Oregon, on the deck of her aunt's cabin, at the end of a country road. She received her degree, with honors, in resource conservation from the University of Montana and did research in Jerry Bromenshenk Honey Bee Lab. She presented her beekeeping findings at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research on "How to Keep 100,000 Girlfriends, the Careful Relationship of a Beekeeper and Her Honey Bees."

This first-grader got a good luck at a Valley carpenter bee, caught by Robbin Thorp in a special device and then released. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Today she's the program director of the American Beekeeping Federation's "Kids and Bees" Program and executive director of Bee Girl, a nonprofit organization: its mission is to inspire and empower communities to conserve bees, their flower and our food system.  She serves as the Oregon director of the Western Apicultural Society, a member of the New York Bee Sanctuary Advisory Board, and the regional representative to the Southern Oregon Beekeepers' Association. She is also a "Mountainsmith Brand Ambeesador."  See her work on FacebookInstagram and Twitter (@sarahBeeGirl). Her hashtag is #loveyourbees.

Among the UC Davis personnel assisting her at the haven were:

Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology,  UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who caught and released bees with a device that included a magnifying glass

Staff research associates Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., Honey Bee Research Facility/UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who staffed the beeswax table, where children drew pictures with crayons

Staff research associate and Charley Nye of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., Honey Bee Research Facility/UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who staffed the  habitat table, where the children learned about where the bees live.

Zoe Anderson, a UC Davis undergraduate student majoring in animal biology, assisted with the honey tasting. The youths all agreed they liked Sarah's vetch honey the best.

First graders, school officials and parents from Peregrine School cluser around a bee sculpture at UC Davis Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee for a “Kids and Bees” program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Sarah the Bee Girl reads a book about bees. In back are WAS members Cyndi and Jim Smith of Donney Lake, Wash. Cyndi serves as the secretary. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Sarah the Bee Girl outfits a first grader with a forager costume for correctly answering a question about foragers. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey) View more images: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=25094