Native Bee Hives and Bee Books

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Each year, we have had Dr Tobias Smith from Bee Aware Kids come to school to talk all things native bees and split our native bee hives.

Native stingless bee hives are a brilliant addition to the kindergarten or school environment and while the curriculum based learning that can take place is wonderful, for me the greatest joy is watching parents and students change their route into the school grounds to wish the bees a good morning, watching students who need some quiet in their day sit and observe the bees at lunchtime, and seeing prep children drag visiting grandparents to ‘come and see our bees’.

In a busy school day, taking time out to watch the bees fly in and out on their daily search for pollen and nectar  affords a moments of peace, and time to appreciate the mystery and wonder of nature.

If you are Brisbane based, the educational workshops of Dr Tobias Smith are great! Recently we had over 100 students and staff sitting around a beehive for well over an hour and they were fully engaged, asked amazing questions and I think could have sat for another hour listening. Toby’s knowledge and enthusiasm for educating young people about native bees is infectious and he is a born storyteller and teacher. Read more about him here.

As a long term lover of bees and a teacher librarian, I have a fondness (obsession?) for books about bees and have been collecting them for many years.
As a TOTAL aside….if you’re a lover all things bee? Ummmmmm….Blue Banded Bee earrings from Biome baby!

And my much loved and admired beehive rings are from Oh My Giddy Aunt (enter code Children’s Books Daily for a free charm with any order #notsponsored) 

Books About Bees

Click on ‘Buy from Booktopia’ when shopping online in Australia to #supportaustralian. Purchase in store from your local independent bookstore where possible #supportlocal.

‘That’s not my bee…’

by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells

A delightful addition to the best-selling ‘That’s Not My’ … series. Babies and toddlers will love turning the pages, touching the feely patches and spotting the familiar little white mouse as they look for their bee.

‘Nifty Native Bees’

by Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson is one of my favourite Australian authors. She is an award winning  teacher and has a passion for including Science in her engaging books, such as her incredibly successful ‘Juliet Nearly a Vet’ and ‘Vet Cadets’ series. Rebecca has also been writing curriculum aligned non fiction books for many years now and ‘Nifty Native Bees’ is part of this series. I have used it extensively with Kindergarten to Year Four students (reading level 17 but perfect example of a non fiction text for any year level).

‘Swarm of Bees’

by Lemony Snicket & Rilla Alexander 

Whether you’re a kid or a bee, sometimes you feel so mad, you buzz around looking for people to sting and trouble to make. See how one boy, a swarm of bees, and a whole town can get riled up and then find a way to feel better through the comfort of unconditional love and community.

‘Lifecycles: From Egg to Bee’

by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Print & eBook available

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Discover the amazing stages of different life cycles and learn how different species are born, grow up and reproduce with this stunning series. Packed with amazing photographs of every stage and labelled diagrams to explain growth and development.

‘The Bee Book’

by Charlotte Milner

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Buzzing with amazing facts, ‘The Bee Book’ is a charming celebration of bees. The talented author and illustrator, Charlotte Milner, takes you on an amazing journey through the world of bees and tells you everything you need to know about these fascinating creatures.

‘Being a Bee’

by Jinny Johnson & Lucy Davey

Print & eBook available

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Children will love learning about life in the hive, bee families, and how older bees work together to look after and raise baby bees. They can find out about beekeeping, how and why bees make honey, and how they dance to communicate with other bees.

The book also gently introduces children to the idea of conservation – explaining why bees are in danger, the need to protect them, and all the ways we can help, from planting wild flowers to buying local honey.

‘The Australian Native Bee Book’

by Tim Heard

Sugarbag Bees is run by entomologist Dr Tim Heard (former CSIRO research scientist) who recently published ‘The Australian Native Bee Book’, which is an excellent resource for teachers and adults who are in charge of a hive at school or home.

‘The Contented Bee’

by Organic Gardener Magazine

Practical chapters by a range of experts give the low-down on getting started, caring for your bees, harvesting your honey and wax (with recipes), troubleshooting, what to plant to help out your little workers, and great information on the popular option of keeping native stingless bees.

‘Flight of the Honey Bee’

by Raymond Huber & Brian Lovelock 

One of my personal favourite general bee books, ‘Flight of the Honeybee’ is part of the excellent, ‘Nature Storybooks’ series by Walker Books. My ecologist neighbour, Dr Sam Lloyd, has reviewed this book in full here. Raymond Huber also has two chapter books (8-11 years) ‘Sting’ and ‘Wings’. These are fictional stories of Ziggy the honeybee and are engaging, entertaining and educational.

‘The Beekeeper’s Bible’

by Richard A Jones & Sharon Sweeney-Lynch

The ultimate guide to the practical essentials of beekeeping as it is a beautiful almanac to be read from cover to cover. Part history book, part handbook, and part cookbook, this illustrated tome covers every facet of the ancient hobby of beekeeping, from how to manage hives safely to harvesting one’s own honey, and ideas for how to use honey and beeswax.

‘The Bee Friendly Garden’

by Doug Purdie

Print & eBook available

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It seems, to me anyway, quite tricky to find bee books written about Australian bees so this one immediately caught my eye as it is by Sydney based bee keeper, Doug Purdie. ‘The Bee Friendly Garden’ is a guide for all gardeners in encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space. Includes: – How bees forage and why your garden needs them – A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants – Simple changes anybody can make – Ideas for gardens of all sizes – Natural pest control and companion planting advice.

‘The Book of Bees’

by Piotr Socha

‘The Book of Bees’ is by a Polish graphic designer and is fascinating and totally stunning production. This is a bee book for your coffee table – just gorgeous. Lots of great information on how how bees communicate, the history of bees, beekeeping and so much more.

‘How to Bee’

by Bren MacDibble

Print & eBook available

‘How to Bee’ is totally a brilliant dystopian novel.

Sometimes bees get too big to be up in the branches, sometimes they fall and break their bones. This week both happened and Foreman said, ‘Tomorrow we’ll find two new bees.’

A story about family, loyalty, kindness and bravery, set against an all-too-possible future where climate change has forever changed the way we live. Without a doubt one of my favourite middle grade books and one of the very few books I have read twice and intend reading again – it is that good. Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love.

‘The Bee Maker’

by Mobi Warren

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The year is 2036. Honeybees are nearly extinct, the world’s crops are disappearing, and Melissa’s origami may be the only thing that can save them. Melissa copes with troubles by folding origami, so it seems like a good plan to fold a thousand origami honeybees as a prayer and, hopefully, a way to connect with her uncommunicative father. He’s a scientist in a race against time to save honeybees by tapping into their communication system that he believes may involve a special ability to rearrange quarks.


by  A.J. Betts

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All I can tell you is what I remember, in the words that I have. 
Hayley tends to her bees and follows the rules in the only world she has ever known. Until she witnesses the impossible…

This post was originally published in November, 2017 and has recently been updated.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul Cross on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Oh, how neat! I had never heard of stingless bees before. Thank you

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