May 20 is World Bee Day, but we can celebrate bees any day with hands-on STEAM activities.
1. Visit the World Bee Day website for detailed information about the importance of bees (and other pollinators). Look for why the organizers chose May 20 for the date. The right sidebar contains many links to other informative websites, including the beautifully designed and engaging Buzzing with Life.
2. Tohono Chul Gardens has put together an amazing collection of lessons about bees and other pollinators. Created to cover a week's worth of activities, it includes instructions for gardening and art. If nothing else, download the bee homes activity (PDF).
3. To get a glimpse of the diversity of bees (and some other insects), check out the photographs at the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab Flickr page. Seriously. Click on the photographs to learn the scientific names of the bees and more about them. For example, our little long-horned bee in the photograph above is a Melissodes trinodus.
4. Make a honey bee model (previous Growing with Science post).
5. See our collection of honey bee science activities as well as all our posts in the bee category.
6. Visit our growing list of children's books about bees at Science Books for Kids.
The solitary bees are incredibly active right now because there are tons of flowers.
Look at all the white pollen that is available for this bee to gather.
That doesn't mean the bees have got it easy, though.
It is one tiny bee in a giant moonflower (Datura).
By the way, from the human perspective the perfume from these night-blooming flowers is overwhelming if you stand too close.
What's happening in the garden today?
The cilantro plants are flowering.
Some people might say the plants are finished and pull them out.
On the other hand, there are several reasons to leave them be.
First of all, cilantro has lovely lacy white flowers. It is a pretty plant.
Plus, if you let the plant mature, it will produce seeds that you can save for next year or share with fellow gardeners.
An additional benefit is that the flowers are food for pollinators, like this honey bee.
Or this flower fly.
Pollinators are important to help many different food and wild plants produce seeds. Allowing a few plants to make flowers can help them survive.
Beauty, seeds, pollinators. Letting cilantro go to seed is win-win.
Have you ever grown cilantro? Do you let it go to flower/set seeds?
Interested in learning more about how to attract and help preserve pollinators? Check out: