A couple months ago I heard about a field trip to a Honey Farm. Sounded intriguing and in all our field trips, we somehow never managed to speak to a beekeeper so I signed up. As the day approached, I was beginning to wonder if this would be a field trip that maybe we should have skipped. Were we in for a surprise!
Bill Mullins, owns Bill’s Honey Farm near Meridianville, Alabama. He has 35 years experience under his belt and is full of knowledge. One of the perks about field trips is that our children (and ourselves) often have the benefit of learning about a subject from someone that is passionate about what they do. Any subject can be fascinating when you are learning from someone who really loves what they do.
First, we learned about the basics of beekeeping through a lecture style lesson. The setup of the hive, some basic information about the bees, and the benefits for the beekeeper of tending a hive.
One hive may contain as many as 80,000 bees! There are three different honey bees: queens, drones and workers. Each hive will contain only one queen. She can lay over 1,000 eggs a day. Drones are male bees and exist to mate with the queen. They are driven out of the hive by the worker (female) bees at the end of the summer. Worker bees are the female bees that keep the hive running smoothly. They do all the jobs around and outside the hive. From comb construction, to gathering nectar and pollen and everything in between, you’ll find these bees hard at work.
Mr. Mullins talked to us in detail about all the products that he collects from his bee hives. He raises queen bees that he sells to other beekeepers. He makes candles from the bees wax he collects. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered he sells votive candles the exact color of my living room walls! He gathers pollen, which we were permitted to taste, sells the honey that is collected, makes candy with the honey- which we really enjoyed eating, and sells the Propelis- a sticky resin or bee glue that is scraped from the inside of the hive. He showed us the ball of the Propelis he had on hand. It looks like…well, you can see for yourself what it looks like.
Since the group mainly consisted of older kids and everyone was pretty well behaved that day, he took us to his extraction building to show us how the honey is extracted from the honeycomb and the steps it goes through until it is bottled.
Bottling the honey
I just thought this made a fun picture
A Beekeeper in uniform
While checking out the hives outside on the property, a bee with swollen pollen sacs landed on my arm
This was an amazing field trip. I loved it and the kids loved it. If you have the opportunity to visit a beekeeper in your area, I’d highly recommend it. If you live near Northern Alabama, you may consider setting up a field trip for your own family or homeschool group. You can read more about Mr. Mullins and his honey farm here.
Until this field trip I have to admit that I didn’t fully appreciate all that bees do. Do you realize that 1/3 of our food supply relies upon bees for pollination?
A FREE unit study on Honey Bees by Marybeth Whalen
If you love lapbooks, and have younger kids, here is a complete Honey Bee Lapbook that is available FREE of charge.
Here’s some good information for older students who may be interested in a beekeeping career.
So, what have you been up to? Have a field trip that you’ve gone on? Link up to Field Trip Friday. And, so you know, our next Field Trip Friday link up will be Friday, January 7th. Until next time…Happy Field Trippin’!