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Are Bees Really Blue?

by Derek Stump

Yes! And purple, green, all-yellow, all-black… bees come in many colors and patterns! Not all bees are striped in black and yellow. And not all bees live in hives, either. That bee in the picture is a blue carpenter bee. She makes her nest inside a tree, chewing into the wood to form a little oval-shaped home. Just one carpenter bee lives in each nest. She also makes honey, but it’s thicker than the kind honey bees make. And she’s about 1 1/2 times longer than a honey bee. For a little bug, she gets a lot of buzz.


Wee ones: If you see a blue bee, a green bee, and a purple bee, how many bees do you see?

Little kids: A carpenter bee can chew through 1 inch of wood per day. If a bee has already chomped 4 inches and wants to make a 8-inch long nest, how many more inches of wood does the bee need to chomp? Bonus: If a bee spends 11 minutes chewing wood, then twice as much time chewing flowers for nectar, how much time does it spend chewing flowers?


Big kids: Carpenter bees will reuse nests! If a nest is 32 years old and 16 bees have taken turns living in the nest for equal amounts of time, for how many years did each bee live in the nest? Bonus: Sometimes carpenter bees do live in little neighborhoods. If a buzzy little bee town has 8 nests and each of those nests has 6 rooms, how many rooms are in all those nests?

Answers:

Wee ones: 3 bees!


Little kids: 4 more inches of wood. Bonus: 22 minutes.


Big kids: 2 years. Bonus: 48 rooms.

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