School of Life Sciences


Scientists launch Bee workshop for educators

LASI lab is launching a Bees for Educators workshop

Bees are among the most well-known and abundant insects. Bees also provide many opportunities for education and for linking people of all ages to nature and science. The Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at Sussex is developing an exciting outreach/public communication of science program called Bees for Educators to help do this.

The aim is to train educators of children and adults by showing them some of the interesting things bees do when they visit flowers. You don't need to be a beekeeper or set up a hive. The educators can then use their newfound skills to lead similar exercises.

LASI has a long tradition of sharing their research findings with beekeepers and others. In Bees for Educators they want to reach new people; not beekeepers, not gardeners, but anyone who is an "educator" – the key link in the chain that connects the public to bees.

The workshops will provide educators with the skills, knowledge and confidence to run 15-60 minute sessions on bees, showing them in real life the variety of the activities bees get up to when visiting flowers.

Professor of Apiculture Francis Ratnieks said:

“By educators we do not mean just teachers and target audiences of school pupils. We want Bees for Educators to reach people of all ages from 5 to 105.

“Educators can include people working at visitor attractions such as gardens, wildlife parks, country parks, etc; people working for wildlife trusts; group leaders of clubs and organizations such as Scouts and Girlguiding; people working at garden centres.”

Dr Karin Alton is coordinating the programme. She said:

“To get involved all an organization or educator will need will be a sunny hour plus a patch of flowers, which could be in a garden, park, field or waste ground. It could be autumn blooming ivy growing on a wall or blooming dandelions on a lawn in spring. The main things needed are simply a pair of eyes and enthusiasm. Bees visiting flowers very seldom sting. The exercises will be no more dangerous than a walk in the park.”

The first workshop, which is free to attend, will take place 1100-1500 on Saturday 4th July and Sunday 5th July 2020 at LASI, on the University of Sussex campus and will be limited to 20 people. It will be taught by Professor Francis Ratnieks and Dr Karin Alton with help from other LASI team members. To register, visit:

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Posted on behalf of: School of Life Sciences
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Last updated: Monday, 2 December 2019