Are you a fan of the 19th Century

scientist, Charles Darwin?

If so, this website is for you!  


This website aims to draw together key publications, media and websites on Charles Darwin for the enthusiast.

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Darwin & The Honey Bee - Lesson Ideas


1) Look at an image of the head of a bumble bee.   Look at a close-up of pollen

grains on a honey bees head. Watch a video of a bumblebee pollinating a dog

violet.See a close-up shot of dog violet (Viola riviniana) in a woodland.  Watch

honey bees doing a waggledance. Discuss the methods of communication in a

colony. Look at the differences in appearance of the different bees in a honey bee

hive colony. Compare the colonies of honey bees and bumble bees (see Darwin

& The Field Mouse Lesson Ideas),  Discuss the movement of honey bee hives for crop pollination. Watch this video which also includes reference to the Verroa threat.


2) Look at the different species of violet in the UK and focus on the two species mentioned in the story.  Evolution has produced similar yet different species. Think of some reasons why. Look for violets in your local grasslands and woodlands.


Other ideas:

Visit the British Beekeepers Association website.

Try out this activity.

Try out the Brilliant Bees Education Pack.





* Insects are important for the pollination of flowers.  Successful pollination results in seed production.

* Instinct is inherited; the development of honeycombs in hve bees has evolved over time.  The way in which complex honeycombs may have eveloped can be seen in existing examples of bees that produce smaller stores of way and honey.

* Bumblebee species differ in the length of their tongues, and, as a result, prefer different flowers. For example the longest tongued species, Bombus hortorum, loves deep flowers.  Some flowers are quite 'deep', so that some short-tongued species cannot reach the nectar. Some species, such as Bombus terrestris, get around this by biting through the side of the flower. In this way it 'steals' nectar from the flowers (doing this without helping with the process of pollination).  So in fact the bumblebee species in the story does not need to steal the nectar as its tongue is long enough!