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March 2023

Greetings from the Ashbrow Beekies!

Well Spring is here so can someone please tell the weather!! What a mixture of weather we’ve had. From warm sunny days to snow days,  our poor bees don’t know what to think! Normally we would be taking a sneaky peak at our bees around about now, but the weather seems to be against us. Fingers crossed for a warmish day soon. We usually aim for the first nice day after St Patrick’s Day. 


That’s not to say our bees haven’t been flying! They have been taking cleansing flights and also making the most of the spring flowers as there will be young larvae to feed.

              Honey Bee on hazel flower                                              Incoming!!!

Spring can be a tricky time so it’s important to keep checking the bees’ food stores and topping up as required. It has been lovely to see our bees flying on the warmer days.

We’ve had another busy term learning all about our bees. Whilst the weather has been bad what better time to carry out some Microscopy sessions. Years 5 and 6 spent time checking our bees for Nosema and also getting some practice at carrying out Acarine dissection.

                        Acarine Dissection

We also extracted pollen from our honey to see what flowers our bees were foraging on last season.  We started our microscopy sessions by tasting some different honeys. We sampled shop bought honey and local honey, comparing taste, quality and texture.  We then took samples and used our centrifuge to extract the pollen.  First of all, we dissolved some honey into warm water and filled some test tubes to about half full. It was tricky getting the same amount of liquid in each tube but we did it using our pipettes.

                                                                               Measuring the honey solution

Next, we loaded the test tubes into the centrifuge and set it spinning for 10 minutes, during which time we looked at some pollen slides under the microscope.

                                                                                         Loading the centrifuge

When the centrifuge stopped and we looked at the test tubes, we could just see a small amount of pollen stuck to the side of the tube.

It was such a lot of fun and a real experience seeing the tiny grains of pollen up close.  We looked at hazel pollen and crocus pollen. They looked so pretty. We also looked at bee parts close up. I think the response to the whole session was that ‘BEES ARE COOL!’


Years 1 to 4 have been learning about the lifecycle of the honey bee. They looked at dead bees with a magnifying glass and measured them, then looked at the Queen, Workers and Drones and compared their size and shapes.

During the session the children made a honey bee lifecycle wheel. They looked at each stage of the lifecycle, from egg to adult, and compared the length of time it takes for each bee to grow, from egg to emerging as an adult.

Next term we will be busy getting ready for our bee breeding season so we will keep you updated with our progress, so look out for our next report in Summer 1 term.

Ashbrow School