WHAT IS POLLINATION?
Pollination is the process by which tiny little grains of pollen are transferred from the flower of one plant to the flower of another plant. Pollen fertilizes the plant allowing it to develop seeds and produce fruit. Pollination is super important to the life cycle of plants, without it many plants wouldn’t be able to reproduce and grow. It only works between flowers or plants that belong to the same species.
If you want to learn more you can check out this video. It describes the parts of a flower and the pollination process.
WHO ARE THE POLLINATORS?
- Bees, birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and some small animals are all pollinators!
- Between 75% and 95% of plants all over the world that produce flowers rely on pollinators.
- It is estimated that about one out of every three bites of food you eat needed pollinators or else it wouldn’t be on your plate.
- The most important kinds of pollinators are bees, specifically honeybees.
- There are more than 450 kinds of bees in Michigan!
Did you know Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township are certified Bee Cities? That means that we are dedicated to protecting and educating about pollinators.
Here are few facts:
- Honey bees live in colonies.
- Each colony has three different kinds of honey bees:
- The queen: She runs the whole hive and is the one who lays the eggs and directs the other bees activities through chemical scents.
- The workers: These are most of the bees in the colony. They are all females but can’t give birth. They are the bees that you see flying around outside. Their jobs are to clean and build the hive, feed the bee larvae and take care of the queen, guard the hive from bees from other colonies, and gather pollen and nectar. Most of the time their job depends on how old they are.
- The drones: These are the male bees and their job is to mate with the queen bee from other colonies so new bees can be born.
- Whether a female bee becomes a queen or a worker depends on what it is fed when it is a larvae.
- Each hive only has one queen bee.
- Bees are amazing creatures but they are dying! They are dying from many different factors which include, pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficits, air pollution, and global warming.
HOW BEES GET THEIR JOBS
THE WAGGLE DANCE
Honey bees can tell other bees where they found food by doing something called the waggle dance!
TAKE A LOOK INSIDE A BEE HIVE WITH JOY
BEE ART AND WRITING
YDL’s board member Brian Steimel was scheduled to do a puppet making workshop before the pandemic. Instead, follow his example and make one at home!
Brian likes to make the concepts of puppetry accessible to all, so he chose materials such as paper plates, duct tape, cardboard, scraps and found objects. Because Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township are Bee Cities, safe havens for bees, Brian shows you how to make flower and pollinator puppets from things you can find around the house.
After you make your puppets, put on some music, dance your flower puppet garden around and have the pollinators do their job! Then log your activity in the Summer Challenge to earn a digital badge.
Want to color your own honeybee? Try this site for honey bee coloring pages, or click the buttons for pages you can download.
Just for today, you can pretend to be a bee. Bees are essential in growing flowers and plants. They use the process of pollination where they transfer tiny little grains of pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower of another of the same kind of plant. Transferring this pollen helps the flowers to continue to grow. So, as an imaginary bee, you can write messages on pieces of paper to “pollinate” your neighborhood with nice messages.
Get details about two projects related to bees and hives you can do this week by clicking the buttons to the left. Share your writing by tagging us #ypsiwrites!
LOOK FOR HONEYBEES AND OTHER POLLINATORS
Let’s go outside and try to find some pollinators! Maybe you have some flowers around your house or a park nearby where you can look at the animals and insects that are pollinating flowers. Watch the video to the left and see if you can find any pollinators around your home that look like the creatures in that video.
You can also look at this website to help identify whether an insect is a honeybee. It tells you to look at things like the eyes and antennae, the wings, how it cleans itself, and whether it’s carrying pollen.
BAKING WITH HONEY
MAKING HONEY MUFFINS
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup 2% milk
- ¼ cup of butter (melted)
- ¼ cup of honey
Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and mix until combined. In a small bowl combine all the wet ingredients (egg, milk, butter, honey) and mix until combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Grease a muffin tin or use paper liners. Fill each cup with mixture until 3/4s full. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick or fork stuck into muffins comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan. Enjoy!
LEARN MORE ABOUT POLLINATORS AND HONEYBEES
BEE CITY USA
Did you know… Ypsilanti is a certified Bee City USA. That means that Ypsi is dedicated to protecting and educating about pollinators and has pledged to host an event every year to publicly educate about habitat restoration and other pollinator related issues. To learn more look at Bee City USA’s website.
READ A BOOK
Here are few to choose from!
The Life Cycle of a Honeybee
The Buzz on Bees : Why Are They Disappearing?
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
UnBEElievables : Honeybee Poems and Paintings
All of these can be found in the Ypsi District Libraries!