In 2015, Telling the Bees went out to three primary schools in Tayside with our partner, the Tay Landscape Partnership.
We worked with a group of students in each school, assisted by a local beekeeper, Steve Fulton (to whom we are very grateful!). We spent a day with each group, Steve told the classes about bees, children got a chance to try on a bee suit, spot a queen in an observation hive, and ask all the questions they wanted! We then asked the class to come up with their own stories on bees, writing them in three parts and illustrating them. Mo Odling (independent artist and project collaborator) had designed and built some beautiful storyboxes to hold these stories (read more about the story boxes here). Each day finished with the children decorating their own storybox ‘doors’ that would open onto the stories.
After the workshops we printed out the stories and placed them into the decorated storyboxes, ready for installing in a schools sharing day at a local heritage orchard and a TayLP Fruit Festival.
There were stories about wasps stealing honey, drones with superhero costumes who saved the queen, the healing powers of honey, and waggle dance-offs. In short, the children came up with some brilliant, highly imaginative ideas! Here you can read all the stories.
Errol Primary School
One day on a rainy day in an orchard there lived four bees. Honey, Blossom, Daisy and Heather were very adventurous bees, they loved to escape from the hive. There was one drone and three workers. They loved to play pranks and didn’t do their jobs.
On a very hot day they escaped from the hive but when they were a few miles away from the hive they saw a flaming fire. They flew as fast as lightning back to the hive but it was on fire! There were wasps stealing their honey.
They all decided to hunt for a new home somewhere else. A few minutes later it started to rain, they found shelter and when the cold thawed they found a new hive!
By Anna, Mairi, Cameron, Olivia
It was a crazy, wet night. The thunder was roaring. Suddenly a flash of lightning hit the beehive. Benji and Leo ran and stole the bees except Bee One. He was the only bee left. He zoomed to his friends’ colony.
Bee One goes to find his friend and both of them went down a tunnel to get their superhero costumes on. Then they went to the Queen. He tells her the plan. Bee One stands on the Queen’s throne and says the plan.
He shouts, “Bees of the colony, my colony has been stolen. I need your help to save my colony.” They all left the hive and went to Benji and Leo’s lair. When they got there they saw the bees trapped inside a jar. They stung Benji and Leo who ran away. Bee One and his friends died but the colony rescued his friends!
By Charlie, Benjamin and Leo
Once upon a time there was a beehive with a beautiful Queen in a garden with lots of flowers. But unfortunately there was a toddler who loved to kill bees. One morning he came out on his three-wheeled scooter. He came off his scooter and started kicking the box.
The bees all flew out! “Oh no!” cried the toddler. “What’s the matter?” shouted the Dad. “Argh!” The bees were everywhere. Then the Dad gets all the bees back in the box. Then he finds out the Queen is missing and the Dad goes crazy at the toddler.
But just then the Dad smelled smoke. The Dad ran. The toddler then fell over into the big toy car and went down a hill and fell onto the grass. He found the Queen bee and gives it to his Dad.
By Charley, Blair, Euan, Fearne and Kyle
Once upon a time in an Orchard in the Carse of Gowrie there was a beekeeper called Steve. He has a son called Cristiano and a daughter called Lisa. Lisa likes the bees, Cristiano does not like the bees.
Cristiano and Lisa go to the village. Cristiano wanders off and finds a girl he loves. Meanwhile Lisa was getting flowers for the bees and went off to find Cristiano, who was playing with his girlfriend – playing football. Cristiano’s girlfriend went off home.
Then Cristiano ran off to a shop that had nerf guns to shoot the bees. He shot the Queen bee, he hated bees. He hit a tree and the bullet hit him in the head. Lisa said “Stop!” She ran to Cristiano who was lying in the wet, stinky mud and he got told off by his Dad. He was in big, big trouble.
By Holly, Matthew, Leilan, Sean and Ben
One day a boy called Bob ate a pot of honey. But it was magic honey and he didn’t know it and he tried to jump but he flew into a tree and met a bee called Dave. Dave was dazed and confused. “Hi” said Dave. “Hi”, said Bob and turned into a bee.
Then he found a smoker, then was coughing in the smoke. Then he drank all the honey, then went bonkers. He went into the house and drank all their honey. Then he went super bonkers.
And then dizzily he walked out of the house and tripped up on a stone and landed on a trampoline. And bounced up so high he ate the sun! And burned and landed in a pool of water and turned back into a boy.
By Caoimhe, Lilly, Max, Lewis and Sandy
There was a little girl called Katherine. She found a beehive in the attic. Lightning struck on the beehive, it caused it to attract bees. It was cool. They didn’t tell Mum. Then Katherine told Jonny that there was a beehive in the attic. She wanted to make it look beautiful.
They put lovely stickers on it and made it sparkly. And put a nice pale blue ballgown on the queen bee. She filled the beehive with furniture and a throne. The bees went downstairs. Their gran came. She needed to sleep in the attic. Dun-dun-duuun!
Gran was nice so she told her about the bees.
By Oliwia, Morvyn, Robyn and Gemma
One sunny but cloudy day a Queen bee started to lose her drones. They froze! When the Queen noticed she went to the hive library where she found a book about curing bees. She read it and the book said there is one special flower that grows in Hide Farm. The Queen bee must collect the nectar and feed it to the drones and give them 2 days rest.
So the Queen bee went off to get the nectar. On her way she was struck by lightning and she got knocked out for several hours. When she woke up it was the next morning. She was really hungry so she went to get nectar – but not from the special pollen flower, but she couldn’t fly so she had to walk. She finally found a good flower with lots of yummy yummy nectar. But suddenly when she climbed the flower she ate all the nectar and she could fly again.
So she set off once again to collect special nectar to help her get to the hive. She said, “Thank you” and did a waggle dance to send out the drones to get more special nectar. She said “Eat this special nectar it will help you get better.” They did and they unfroze and lived happily ever after.
Longforgan Primary School
It was a sunny day and it was Bobby the Bee’s birthday. For his breakfast he had bee bread and honey – it was his favourite meal ever. But the Queen bee was sick! Bobby was her favourite son and he wanted to make her feel better.
He rushed to the Queen and she was at the bee hospital. The doctor said she had to take medicine but he didn’t have any. It was on the other floor which no one could get through to because the Queen excluder was there. Bobby was the only one who knew a different way through. So Bobby went to get the medicine.
Bobby gave the medicine to the Queen and enjoyed the rest of his birthday watching the Queen lay his brothers and sisters.
By Holly, Anya and Grace B
Benny and Nataly were walking back from school. Suddenly a Bee comes. Nataly starts trying to swish it away, but the bee came and stung her. Nataly starts crying like mad. Benny takes Nataly home at Super Speed. “Nataly shouldn’t have swished her hands at the bee!” Her Mum got her nail and picked it out. Then they went out to play in the garden; suddenly a giant portal appeared out of nowhere.
Benny pulls Nataly in and Nataly screams. The portal disappears behind them. In front was a beehive as big as a palace. Suddenly a giant bee comes out then Nataly screamed. The bee chased them into a ginormous shop where Nataly gets caught by the giant bee!! “Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!” she screams! The bee has just somehow turned Nataly into a giant bee. They both chased Benny into a giant vending machine.
They couldn’t get him in there, when they left Benny climbed out of the vending machine. Outside all the giant bees voted Nataly to be the new Queen. The real Queen bee comes out and tries to sting Nataly but they sting each other at the same time and both die. Another portal appears. Benny goes through the portal, he realises he’s in his garden. He walks into his house and he is suddenly in his bed. He was dreaming the whole time!!
By Reuben, Gregor and Matthew
As I came out of this cell I knew it was my job to be a worker, Sue the worker. But I was no ordinary worker, I was known for being a great dancer. My nick-name was the Waggle Dancer! So I’m going to tell you about how I became the Waggle Dancer! It all starts on the day of the dance off!
It was an ordinary day just the same as any other, except I had entered a dance off! I head down onto the dance floor as the sun beams in through a crack in the slightly rotten and damp wood. Then it was all up to me to do my best. Thousands of pairs of eyes fixed on me. Then they started the music as I got in the mood for it and waggled.
As the music stopped, I stopped. The audience fell silent. 10 10 10 10. Everyone started buzzing and started doing the waggle dance. The music started again and everyone in the hive was going wild. They were so happy to be there, off work enjoying themselves. This made me win and become the Dancing Queen!
By Campbell, Scott V and Niamh
I was flying home after collecting pollen, with the sun beating down on my back. By the way my name is Bethany and I am a working bee. My job is to produce honey and wax for the hive. My Mum is called Bella, she is the Queen bee. I have thousands of sisters. My best friend is Bob the drone, his job is to look after the hive and to mate with the Queens. One scorching hot day I was out collecting pollen. I saw men up the tree right above our hive cutting down the tree then one big branch came crashing down onto the hive. I hurried to find Bob and the Queen…
I flew as fast as I could to the entrance of the hive to find Bob and the Queen. There they were just behind the branch, they are all shocked about the branch that crushed everything at the entrance of the hive. I fly into the hive to try and find Bob and Bella. Eventually she finds Bob but he has hurt his eye. The branch has scratched his eye and it looks all funny!
Bob wasn’t the best flier with a sore eye. He was flying all over the place. They went to find the Queen to see if she was alright. So off we went to look for her. So after we had been looking we eventually found her. She was fine! But then it started to rain and the hive was broken so they had to swarm and fly away. What was going to happen? …
By Rhona, Carly and Matthew
The sunflower stood in the garden, tall and straight. Its wide head attracting all the bees and one evil wasp. The first bee to arrive was Lindsey, this was her first flight and she was scouting for pollen and nectar. She was confident that she could find some. The next bee was Bobby. She was more experienced than Lindsey and from a different hive. She headed straight to the nectar.
‘Sorry! We were racing each other and I wanted to win”, said Buzzy. “Yeah, me too!” added Bubbles. “Hi Bobby, we followed your dance and came to see if we could get some nectar for the ‘B Hive’”, Bubbles blabbed in a great rush. Bobby’s face was a picture, a mixture of shock, anger and annoyance. “Hey, what’s that?” The three bees turned to see Lindsey’s abdomen disappear into the flower. Suddenly the whole flower began to shake. “It’s a hurricane!” shouted Buzzy. “No, it’s not, it’s the wind, don’t worry just hold on tight!” answered Bubbles.
“It’s getting very dark and hard to breathe”, coughed Bubbles. “I think it’s a smoker,” whispered Buzzy, “So we need to get back to a hive quickly.” “Follow me,” shouted Lindsey. “Yeah, let’s hurry,” yelled Bobby, “before the evil wasp or the rain comes.” They all fly to Lindsey’s hive and stay there forever.
By Alice, Grace, Arun and Erin
St Madoes Primary School
Lewis went to Madagascar for a two week holiday. He went there to see his Dad who has a friend who is a beekeeper. One day Lewis’ Dad took Lewis to see the bees and the process of honey. Lewis was really interested in the bees. He thought to himself that he would like to have bees of his own but he couldn’t take them home.
One day Lewis finds a honeycomb hanging from a tree with a swarm of bees. Lewis catches sight of the bees so he really, really wants to keep them. After Lewis went inside it started to rain, he saw the swarm of bees fly through the window, but the Queen bee couldn’t make it. The worker bees carried her on their backs and took her in and they slept in the chimney.
Lewis realises the bees came through the chimney and asked his Dad if he could stay in Madagascar and keep the bees. His Dad said he could keep the bees if he tames them and sells his own house in Rome, Italy. And buy your own kit. He stays in Madagascar and becomes a commercial beekeeper, with 137 hives.
By Connor, Denim, Euan and Jed
Dear Diary – Day before disaster struck. Oh how I love the sunset, seeing the beautiful colours shimmer in the night sky from the beehive. With my loving family, it makes it even more magical! Dear Diary – Day of disaster. Oh why do things keep on disappearing, at first my honey, now the sizzling sun? Whatever could be next?
Dear Diary – Day after disaster – Oh no! Now my fluorescent flowers have died, as there’s no sun to help us survive. I would do anything to get them back. My family are starved, we need to get some food. Dear Diary – Day of adventure. We have decided to swarm to a whole new country. Hopefully there’s food and warmth there.
Dear Diary – We’ve just arrived in Spain where there is sun. Furthermore flowers where we can collect nectar and pollen to feed me and my family. We’re living a dream over here in Spain, we just hope we don’t need to go back home. Dear Diary – We’re living hapbee every after!
By Emma, Erin and Jodi
Felix keeps bees in his back garden in Sweden. He keeps bees because his grandfather did and it’s passed down in the family. His grandfather loved keeping bees, he was very passionate for keeping bees. So Felix thought it was only fair to keep bees himself. Felix started out hating bees but then he began to love it. He loves bees so much his whole life is dedicated to it.
One normal day in Felix’s garden, he went to check on his bees but found that they were not there. He is passionate to get them back but he has no idea where to look. While he looks, he gets into serious trouble and gets lost and scared because there is an award for the best honey coming up but Felix doesn’t have his bees. His mission is to find them quick so he can win.
Thankfully Felix found his bees and won the award for best honey and everyone around the globe tried Felix’s honey, and everyone loved it so much that he became famous for it.
By Aidan, Logan M, Freya and Finlay
One boiling hot day, two drone bees called Bumble and Bramble were in a very crammed hive. It was waggle dance week and only the best honey was served. While that was happening there was a banging on the side of the hive, what was it? It was getting louder, louder and louder.
Then there was a crack in the wall. The sound stopped. Bumble injected honey in himself, then Bramble flew out the door and got his friend, Wasp. Then the wasp robbed them, because he wanted their “Honey Bucks” but Bumble had an idea – he will protect the swarm on his own.
Bumble then chased all the wasps until it started to rain. The wasps drank a lot of rain because they thought it is honey, then the wasps exploded. Soon Bumble returned to the hive and the Queen said he is King.
By Zak, Caden, Thomas F and Adam
Timmy the bee. The bees like watching the bee news and rolling in the flowers. Timmy lives in Timmy Town, which is in San Andreas.
On bee news: Sunflowers are disappearing, there are 100 flowers left. More will be gone in two weeks. To survive you need two sunflowers. Timmy went out to find two sunflowers, he knew the right spot.
So he set out to find the flowers for the hive but then a giant spider rose up in front of him. To be continued…
By Euan M, Logan W, Irvine and Angus
On a rainy day, there was a little girl called Brena, and her Dad was a beekeeper called Steve. Brena wasn’t sure of the bees because she might get stung. Angie, her Mum, was very ill and she needed honey to recover. So they got 60,000 bees to make a lot of honey. And they also needed a lot of equipment for the bees.
Brena was doing gardening and she was covered in pollen and nectar, so she got stung. She had to go inside to get it out but it would not come out. So she got taken to the doctors and while Brena was away her Gran looks after Angie. Brena got medicine and she got the stings out and felt better.
They made a lot of honey so Angie is fine now and now Brena loves bees and is now a professional beekeeper. The End!!!!
By Grace, Libby, Poppy and Erin S
With many thanks to all the children and teachers who took part on the project.