Monday, November 7, 2011

Bee Hive Investigation

My mom gave "A" a bee hive that had fallen. He was chomping at the bits to dig in and explore. After covering the table with paper I pulled out the hive, but told him we needed to think like true scientist. First he had to guess what bee it belonged to. He thought the nest belonged to a yellow jacket. Then I told him he needed to record his observations with drawings and I would take notes. It was a relatively small nest. We looked at the paper surrounding and found striations (lines of different colors). It had three layers, soft, and easy to break. Inside was a honeycomb with a darker middle hanging down. This was hard to break. We noticed some white balls on some of the combs. "A" tried to break through by stabbing it but found it extremely difficult although it looked fragile. However, we could easily pull it outward. Inside was a bee exoskeleton. We also observed some black pointing things in some of the uncovered combs. We pulled it out and couldn't make out what it was. We could tell that it was extremely smelly (decomposing smell) and then I saw a part move. At this point I felt we had enough observations (and was getting grossed out) so we discarded of the hive.
Our found hive. After investigation we found out it was a wasp nest.
Magnifying Glass-an important tool for observations
Recording data
This is out of focus but the little thing on paper is a bee exoskeleton (later we found out an unhatched bee)
The small black thing we found out was decomposing and dying larvae.
After the observation we did some research to make sense of what we discovered. After scouring the internet these are Our Findings:
  1. The nest belonged to a honeycomb wasp
  2. The paper surrounding is actually scrapings of wood that the queen bee attains from fences, sheds, carports, etc-not trees! She then mixes it with her saliva to make a paste. There is a type of wax component because it is waterproof.
  3. Although it is called a honeycomb wasp that is for the shape of the hive. They do not make honey. Each comb holds one egg, that hatches to be a worker bee larvae 
  4. The wasp in North America is called a Yellow Jacket. 

Did you learn something? We sure did!


  1. VERY interesting! I love the hands on learning you did! WOW!

    Thanks for linking to TGIF Linky Party!
    Beth =-)

  2. Wow, that looks cool. We found a honeycomb last summer. Oh, how I wish I'd thought to turn our discovery into a full-blown science experiment like you did. Your activity was awesome!!