World Bee Day, designated by the United Nations on 20 May, is an important initiative in the annual nature calendar.

It is an opportunity to highlight our awareness of bees in the natural environment and some of the issues affecting them.

As the school beekeeper, I am always pleased to see how we can recognise the importance of bees for our world by exploring the various bee-related themes.

Learning about bees

Across British School in The Netherlands (BSN), we have been keeping honey bees for about six years. The journey started in the Senior School Voorschoten (SSV) Eco-Garden with an Africa top-bar hive. We installed a swarm there in spring and raised school awareness of this species with various events and activities.

Junior School Leidschenveen (JSL) soon followed. Their colony of bees has been one of the most prolific. It has also been sustained at the site as Senior School Leidschenveen (SSL) developed. We relocated their traditional hive on-site when building work began.

Three years ago, we brought a small swarm from JSL to the Junior School Diamanthorst (JSD) campus too. Their hive is situated on a part of the first-floor roof. Bees can survive and even thrive in the city as well!

 There are many insect-friendly efforts across the schools, from bug hotels to wood piles where animals can overwinter. In the curriculum, we also study bugs and other minibeasts to raise awareness for Foundation Stage to Year 13.

There are many other types of bees in our environment. Many specially adapted to serve the needs of specific plants, from tiny fly like bees to large bumblebees. It’s always good to spot them. Find out more about the 331 Dutch bee species here.

On World Bee Day, there are many things we can all do to support bees and learn about them. In recognition of the important role bees play in the survival of our ecosystem, plant some bee-friendly flowers or avoid cutting the grass to keep the dandelions for the bees. 

World Bee Day

Six Things you can do to help Bees

Plant bee friendly flowers and care for them

Spot and identify bees in nature

Only use natural products in your garden to control insects and seeds

Read about bees and insects

Build a simple bug hotel from recycled natural materials

Avoid dropping litter

Bee Informed!

Resources to learn more about bees and the essential role they play

An informative PDF shared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with key facts and figures and loads of information about pollination!

Good news! Thanks to bee hotels, be stops and a honey highway, the Dutch bee population remains stable after a period of decline. Learn about how the Netherlands is making urban areas more bee-friendly.

Enjoy Flight of the Bumblees, Composed by Michael Omer in honour of #WorldBeeDay!

Liz Jones

Liz is a Senior Leader and Computing Teacher at JSV. She leads Learning Technology and is also the Induction Lead for the International leadership Academy for the whole BSN. She is also Forest School Level 3 qualified and involved with Environmental initiatives across the BSN. As a hobby she and her husband keep bees and have shared these skills with the BSN campuses for about six years.

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