Armidale Vegetable Sowing Guide
This guide shows planting time periods that should allow you to get a crop in Armidale.

Swarm at Armidale Community Preschool

Armidale Community Preschool is a community-based service in the centre of Armidale.  Our preschool environment is natural, consisting of native and exotic plants and trees, which attracts a range of creatures from insects to birds and lizards.  We have installed several water stations around the garden for insects, bees, and lizards.  There are also two bird/possum boxes in trees.  It is one of these boxes that became a hive when European bees moved in.

In September 2019 something fabulous happened; the children found a swarm of bees. “I saw those bees under the table,” said M.  A large inverted dome of bees was resting under one of the picnic tables in our preschool garden.  The children were moved away, and barriers set up to keep them at a safe distance.  The children were extremely interested in what was going on and happily shared their knowledge.  “The ones that came out are the guard bees,” said H.  “The queen bee is also inside laying eggs,” said J.  “The honey is made out of pollen.  I saw the smoker and the beehive on ‘Paw Patrol,” said P.

Peter from the Amateur Bee-Keepers Association came to investigate the bees with his smoker and a hive. “Hey bee man! Why you wear that outfit?” asked O.  Peter explained that his suit helped to keep him safe from bee stings.

Peter advised that the bees had outgrown their home in our bird box and had left to create a new colony.  “Where’s the queen?  Why do the bees all follow the queen?’ asked T.  The children learned that the bees were swarming under the table while they sent scouts out to locate a new hive.  “I think the old queen stays in that hive,” said H.

The bees were removed safely, and the remaining bees continue to thrive in our bird box.  It was a fantastic and exciting learning experience for children and educators alike.  We look forward to the next time a swarm comes to Armidale Community Preschool.

By Leigh Best

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