Celebrating World Bee Day with the Bee Detectives
Each year there is a hive of excitement on May 20 when the world celebrates World Bee Day. This special day is designated by the UN to raise awareness of these important pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development.
We love bees so much, especially Australian Native bees, that we’ve previously published not one, but two amazing books, A Guide to Native Bees of Australia, and Bees of Australia: A Photographic Guide. But it is also important to teach children about the importance of bees, and luckily for us, educator Vanessa Ryan Rendall thought so too – that’s why she wrote the picture book Bee Detectives!
In this gorgeously illustrated book our two budding bee detectives (Olivia and Hamish, and their pet guinea pig Ignatius) discover how Australian native bees live, what they like to eat, and the important work they do to pollinate plants.
Vanessa’s love for her picture book subject came from her own experience with bees.
“We decided to buy our own stingless beehive after reading about how great they were as pollinators, and their declining numbers due to urbanisation. Once they arrived I fell in love! They were so mesmerising to watch – we could see them flying in and out of the hive, taking pollen in, cleaning the hive out and trying to dodge the clever spiders who set up home nearby. I also loved that every visitor we had come to our house had never seen one before.”
“I searched for books about them so I could learn more. And there were a few books aimed at adults – from these books I learnt more about the solitary bees and of course started to notice them in my garden. I realised that with my new knowledge I had become so much more aware, and that it would be great to teach young children about bees too. I would love to see kids appreciating the small things in the garden and not being afraid of anything that buzzes, crawls or wriggles. So I started writing, as I really wanted children to learn about these wonderful insects.”
The joy of researching any book is that there is so much to discover. Writing a children’s book like Bee Detectives is no different.
“I learnt so much!” shares Vanessa. “I learnt about the different hives that different bees live in and where they live in Australia. I learnt about princesses in waiting – which amazed me, and the swarms that they have when a new queen has grown. I also learnt that there are so many passionate people in Australia who love stingless bees and are working in so many different ways to ensure that they continue to have places to live through education, bee hotel construction and habitat growing.”
The release of Vanessa’s beautiful book, inspired by the Australian native stingless bees in her very own back yard is an exciting accomplishment.
“I am so proud that more children know about stingless bees now (and many adults too!) and really want to learn more about them. Understanding how important our natural world is – and knowing that we, even as small bee detectives, can make a difference – is vitally important. Through art, storytelling and illustrations, we can learn so much more!”
To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators the UN has designated May 20 as World Bee Day!
Visit our website to find out more about Bee Detectives or to download our free PDF Teacher Notes.
You can also go behind-the-scenes with Bee Detectives illustrator Brenna Quinlan in this blog story – you may just ‘bee’ inspired to become a Bee Detective too!
Other titles mentioned in this story
A Guide to Native Bees of Australia
By Terry Houston
Bees of Australia: A Photographic Exploration
By James Dorey