Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Two 8-frame Langstroth hives
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello

My eldest is just under 4 years old, and goes to pre-kindy. A few weeks ago her teacher, knowing that we keep bees, asked us to send in some honey, and some information about bess because they were going to have a lesson on bees.

I did send some honey plus a frame of comb I had just cycled out My daughter ended telling everyone about the queen bee and workers and how honey is made etc. I was impressed by how much she learned from our casual conversations and how much the rest of the kids in her class got intrigued, as I’ve been repeatedly told by the teacher. The teacher herself had never saw, or handled comb before!

So my question is how early do you people get your kids involved in actual beekeeping duties? My kids always want to tag along but of course I don’t let them come close for safety reasons. I can’t even find a bee suit so small.

I’m really curious what other parents with young kids do. I don't want them to get engaged then a bee sting puts them off for ever.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,793 Posts
Several of the ytubers I watch include their young children in their beekeeping activities. I think it's pretty cool to see a five year old handling a frame of bees like a pro. I hope that someone who is actually doing it will respond and provide some advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
I remember I was 6-7 when I really wanted to join my Dad.
So he fashioned me the garb (one could not buy it) and made me the Smoker Boy.
So around 7-ish when I started and I was actually useful to have around (go get this; go bring that;).
And of course, the smoker operator - I became good at it; what boy does not like to play with fire.

I don't see kids younger than 1st grade (independent and reasonable enough) to be seriously useful AND not requiring attention on their own. Too young of the kids are the project on their own and are mostly distraction.
Besides, there are a lot of safety concerns. Beekeeping is a risky business, to be sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,129 Posts
Up till age around 3 they should be kept well away from bees and bee gear to prevent them developing an allergy later in life. Then age around 5 may work for showing them inside a hive for some kids, but not others. 7 or 8 years old most kids are ready and find bees pretty fascinating.

Here's my grandkids learning bees, apologies to anyone who has seen these pics before.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
My grandfather was a beekeeper. I can't remember a time when beekeeping wasn't a part of my childhood. As I got older I helped more and more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
Here's my grandkids learning bees, apologies to anyone who has seen these pics before.
As the grandchild of a beekeeper who has fond memories of beeking with grandpa, and as one who is a grandfather now, don't apologize. Grandpas gotta brag. You are making memories with your grandkids that they will always remember.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,759 Posts
Sorry to be a dissenter but, I nor my Kids handle bees in my yards with only shorts on.
You must have very calm bees, Mine would teach the kids a different lesson.

GG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
It takes a certain amount of strength and coordination to work around bees without causing a big disturbance. Think dropped frame or tripping into a hive. Let her watch and learn for 2 or 3 more years then, when she's able, she will probably already know how to use the smoker and be able to peek down into the cells to help you find eggs and queens. And it will be easier on you and the bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
If really want to demo the bees to the kids - safely! - choose a smallish, mild nuc hive for such demo and have plenty of time to do the demo with NO serious work pending. Don't want to be distracted.

I would not mix large hives and serious projects in progress (which require attention) with the little kids (who also require attention) - it is a bad mix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
Sorry to be a dissenter but, I nor my Kids handle bees in my yards with only shorts on.
You must have very calm bees, Mine would teach the kids a different lesson.

GG
OT works with Italians bees (typical in NZ) so can get away with it.
Meanwhile, we here are working with unpredictable bees (Russians of various mixing, unknown swarms, etc, etc) - willy - nilly beekeeping not working too well here (especially with the little kids mixed in).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,129 Posts
Agreed LOL I wouldn't be trying that with Russians :)

And thanks for the kind words JConnolly yes beekeeping with the grandkids is one of the best days out, for me and for them.

I've also been asked to do bee talks at some schools, and have taken the kids out of the classroom and had them opening and handling bees which I first put in the grounds, and twice I have had someone i don't recognise stop me on the street, treat me with huge respect and say they were in one of my classes years ago and tell me it was one of the best things they did at school.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,759 Posts
OT works with Italians bees (typical in NZ) so can get away with it.
Meanwhile, we here are working with unpredictable bees (Russians of various mixing, unknown swarms, etc, etc) - willy - nilly beekeeping not working too well here (especially with the little kids mixed in).
Ok then
some of my Russians are a bit moody, one day fine the next week bouncing of the Veil. I have a kids suit for my kids,, they help,, but when the air is so full you can barely see the ground, they get a little shy.

GG
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,793 Posts
I envy those of y'all that are able to share your passion with the youngsters. My 24 year old son only begrudgingly helps out in the bee yard and my 13 year old niece, who is very interested, lives 800 miles away. My one local granddaughter is 3, so there may be some hope for the future.
 

·
Registered
Two 8-frame Langstroth hives
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys for the advice. The calm nuc is a good idea, and I think I will do that as soon as I have one ready. It will be placed away from my other hives too.

Yes definitely I do not want to risk stings. I was thinking I can fashion a bee suit with a hat veil, and some thick clothing and kid gloves. She's been asking me to buy her a suit but the smallest I could find were way too big.

I want to make the most of their enthusiasm before they grow a bit more, have friends, and I'm not cool anymore :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
I envy those of y'all that are able to share your passion with the youngsters. My 24 year old son only begrudgingly helps out in the bee yard and my 13 year old niece, who is very interested, lives 800 miles away. My one local granddaughter is 3, so there may be some hope for the future.
I'm the generation skip. My own father had no interest whatsoever in beekeeping. Neither did his brothers. But my grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great-grandfather were beekeepers. We don't know how far back it goes beyond that. None of my siblings keep bees. My son, now 22, was interested when he was a teenager but his interest has waned. I don't know if he will continue it or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,129 Posts
Thanks guys for the advice. The calm nuc is a good idea, and I think I will do that as soon as I have one ready. It will be placed away from my other hives too.

Yes definitely I do not want to risk stings.
Here's a trick. Feed it with syrup for at least a week before the big day. That way the bees will be super docile.

Just, be sure you allow no opportunity for robbing, because then the reverse will happen, they will be super aggressive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I have an 8 year old daughter and a 5 year old son that have both showed some interest in "helping" when I work bees. They don't always come, but I'll invite them to go with me, and sometimes they'll invite themselves. I have a couple of bee suits that are too big for them, but they wear them anyway. Actually there's a sort of innocence in young kids that they're extremely comfortable with bees flying around them. I expect that will last right up until the first time someone gets stung. In any case I'm the one that's more comfortable at this point having them all suited up.

When they do come out, at this point mostly they just watch and ask questions. My son likes to run the smoker, and they're both helpful at getting things I might have forgotten from the truck. Guy in my bee club built a small hive for his grandson, basically cut down mediums, so that the boy could have his own colony to manage and learn on. I think that's the route I'll go if either of them continues to show an interest.

Definitely agree with GregV. Make a point to bring them when you aren't distracted with a long "to do" list and can focus on answering their questions, helping them to understand what you're doing, and enjoying your time well spent together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,129 Posts
Guy in my bee club built a small hive for his grandson, basically cut down mediums, so that the boy could have his own colony to manage and learn on. I think that's the route I'll go if either of them continues to show an interest.
Think carefully about that first. Kids go through stages. Interested, not interested. If you give a kid a hive to manage, he is then under obligation. He has to manage it. Even when he'd rather be doing something else. It is now a chore.

My kids education (at home) was kind of free range. I encouraged whatever they were interested in, but never forced anything on them. They turned out pretty balanced.

Looking at how hunter gatherer societies work, which is basically what we are genetically programed for, the kids just naturally tag along, and copy what the adults do. Girls with their mothers, boys with their fathers, and by the time they are adults themselves, have acquired the needed knowledge and skills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Think carefully about that first. Kids go through stages. Interested, not interested. If you give a kid a hive to manage, he is then under obligation. He has to manage it. Even when he'd rather be doing something else. It is now a chore.
Oldtimer, I appreciate your thoughts and I agree with what you say - kids definitely go through a variety of interests as they grow. And I also think that if you start a project you should see it through to the end. At the same time I'm not suggesting forcing beekeeping on anyone. I invite my kids to come work the bees with me because it's something I enjoy and want to share. If they come, that's great. If not, not a problem.

My only point is that if one of them did show an interest and wanted to become more involved, I think that's easier for them to do, especially when they're young, if they have smaller colonies and more manageable equipment, their own size, to work with. Experiential learning is a principle of Montessori education, and I think that concept can be applied to beekeeping as well. And if they do try it out and decide it isn't for them after all, really that's not a problem either. People get out of beekeeping all the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,044 Posts
My oldest kids never bothered with the bees.
My youngest son (12 now) started with me very well and was great at spotting the queens.
Then a bee climbed up in his pants and stung him.
That was a tragedy (which I totally understand - a bee in your pants and a sting to a leg something I'd rather avoid too).
Ever since he has this fear and hardly ever comes along.
No fun anymore.

So I am all alone (maybe wife tags along sometimes IF I ask for help).
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top