We invite schools to visit us in the summer term to see and learn about bees and their importance in our lives. In addition to providing an informative and interesting school trip this would support work done in your school regarding metamorphosis and the environment. If you have a particular angle that you are interested in we will endeavour to accommodate your request.
Twickenham & Thames Valley Beekeepers’ Association’s Apiary is at 41 Whitton Road, Twickenham TW1 1BH (close to Twickenham Station). The site comprises a large classroom, a smaller Discovery Centre, apiary, 2 toilets and is fully wheelchair accessible. There is limited off-street parking that may be available on request.
In the Apiary are a number of active beehives and a bee-proof hide.
We welcome visits from Reception and Years 1 to 6. We can only accommodate one class of 30 plus teacher and support staff at a time but can see three classes on one day.
School visits usually last about an hour per class. On arrival we show a short DVD about bees which is followed by an introduction to basic honeybee anatomy, a discussion about bees and the opportunity to ask questions. We use the correct vocabulary but will explain these words in age appropriate language.
The group is then split in half. It is helpful if the pupils are prepared for this. Both groups will do both activities.
One group go to the Discovery Centre where they are shown a dummy hive. This is a life-sized hive containing frames with photographs taken of a real hive. We discuss honeybee lifecycle, the jobs the workers do, pollination, the importance of bees to the environment and how we can help them. There is wax honeycomb to feel and smell.
The second group goes outside to the Apiary and into the bee-proof Hide so the pupils can see, hear and smell a honeybee colony. A beekeeper will open a hive outside the Hide and bring frames close enough for the pupils to see through the mesh. We aim to show worker bees, drones (male bees), the queen, (although she can be elusive). We show and explain how bees develop from egg to adult. We talk about how the colony works including how they communicate, what bees eat, why and how pollen and nectar are collected and how honey is made and stored. As drones do not have stings, if everyone is happy, we intend to bring drones into the hide. Pupils tend to enjoy allowing the drones to walk on their hands.
If you are unable to bring your pupils to our Apiary we are also happy to visit you at your school to talk about bees. If possible we can bring an observation hive with us. However a visit to the Apiary is best as crowding around an observation hive is not as good an experience as seeing the bees flying. We can normally only come out to schools in the Autumn and Spring Terms due to the popularity of visits to the Apiary during the Summer Term. There will be no live bees with us then.
We recommend that staff come to the apiary in advance of the group visit to do their own Health and Safety assessment.
You might find the following a useful resource.
IBRA Bee World Project, Education pack.
If you have any further queries or would like to book a visit please do contact us.