Nathan Stine, 8, holds a male carpenter bee for
the first time. The males don't sting. Danville
Primary School second-graders learned the
benefit of bees and other pollinators during a
Pollinator Party recently. (Photo by Karen Blackledge)
"“He tickles. It’s neat,” said Nathan Stine, a Danville Primary School second-grader who got to hold a bee in class earlier this month.
Stine and his classmates got hands-on experience with pollinators during a recent Pollinator Party at the school. The students learned about how bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are vital to plant fertilization.
Pollinators seek nectar from plants. While gathering the food, they can brush up against the plants reproductive parts, gathering pollen or depositing pollen which allows the plant to grow a flower or fruit. Many plants can't reproduce without help from pollinators
Pollen sticks to a bee as it gathers nectar from a dandelion on a spring afternoon May 2 in Philadelphia. (Photo by AP)
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, honeybees are responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops and one out of every three bites Americans eat.
Honeybees, like the one above, are not native to the United States. The scientific name for honeybee is Apis mellifera. Beekeepers select they type of honeybee they want to raise based on temperament, physical characteristics, disease resistance, and productivity, according to the USDA.
There is an apiary located on the roof of USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.. The People's Garden Apiary is home to approximately 40,000 Italian honey bees. A live always-on bee cam can be seen at the USDA's website.
Eight-year-old Carter Heath touches a carpenter bee held by Alex Surcica, of Shippensburg, during a Pollinator Party at Danville Primary School. (Photo by Karen Blackledge)
Alex Surcica, who worked with the Danville students earlier this month, is a Penn State Extension Educator in Horticulture and Pollination.