Having been intrigued by Surrey beekeepers idea about getting children interested in bees, the past weekend of sunshine seemed a good opportunity to put this into practice.
I did change it a little. I cut circles of paper into rough flower shapes and laminated them. I had thought I’d cut each out before laminating – but realised the experiment ought to work if I kept them in a sheet. I could then put sugar syrup or fondant on the flowers without worrying they’d spoil the flowers and hence there was the potential to reuse the sheets.
My next idea seemed a touch of genius – by taking a photo of the sheets I could print it so it could be used as a tally sheet to count the many bees I anticipated visiting the ‘flowers’. This was possibly my first mistake as I didn’t realise that when I added the sugar bits I had turned the sheets over.
Still, I spent 3 hours doing the crossword and watching the sheet – to no avail. I refined what was on the sheets – adding fondant and spraying with syrup. Still no visiting bees. In desperation I took the sheets to Hughenden Manor when we did an inspection at the apiary and put them really close to the hives. No reaction from the bees. Perhaps my mistake is that the weather is good and there are far better sources for them. I think our young visitors would find this experiment very boring unless I can detect the flaw in my adaptations.
April 1st update – no, not a hoax.
Had a surprise visit from a friend today which lured me to think sitting in the sun would we nice. Imagine my surprise to see – at least – bees interested in the experiment. I had done nothing new to it, assuming it to be an out and out failure. First we saw one honey bee. 30 minutes later a few more. I somehow assumed there might have been a little waggle dance between times.