Miss Floribunda: The kid who likes bees

Dear Miss Floribunda,

I am seven years old. My daddy is helping me with this because I can’t spell many words and he says I ask too many questions he can’t answer. I like bees.

I like to watch them and they don’t sting me but my friend got stung. Why would they be nice to me and mean to him? Can he make them like him and not hurt him?

I have some more questions but this is the important one so he will still play outside with me.

Please hurry.

Kid Who Likes Bees on Kennedy Street

Dear Kid Who Likes Bees,

Is it possible you have been nicer to the bees than your friend has? Bees are fun to watch because they are busy gathering pollen and nectar, but, like all hard workers, they are intent on their task and don’t like to be interrupted or interfered with. Did your friend shake the flower a bee was on? Did he try to pick up a bee up and frighten her? Did your friend have sticky hands from candy or soda pop that might have attracted the bee who then was upset not to get any nectar? Bees are not mean, but if you frighten or annoy them they can sting you. Some people get very sick from bee stings, but most people just feel a sharp pain that’s like getting stuck with a thorn.

Now if you really and truly want to learn about bees, plus have a lot of fun and enjoy good food, games and music, you and your daddy and other family members could come to the Green Expo at the Municipal Center on Saturday, Sept. 9. It starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. when a beautiful cake from Shortcake Bakery will be sliced up and shared. The Bowie-Upper Marlboro Beekeepers Association (BUMBA) will have honey to sell and an exhibit with plenty of information about bees. Nikki Thompson, faculty research associate at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture is going to give a talk especially for children, and it will include lots of pictures and a real beehive (without bees) so you can see how the bees live and how a big bee family is organized. You will learn how bees are put together, and that bees can smell with what we consider their feet, as well as just what it is they use for feet; the amazing things their antennae do; and how their eyes work so they can see in all directions. You will also find out why even bees that don’t make honey are still necessary in order for fruit and vegetables to develop; what happens when bees have a queen they don’t like and decide to leave; how bees are different from wasps and yellow jackets; and just about anything else you want to ask a question about.

But that’s not all. Children’s author and songwriter Richard Morris will talk with kids. Love Yoga Studio will provide an interactive demonstration we can all participate in. Dr. Nicole Farmer, who has been featured on PBS, will accompany her talk “Nourishing Foods for You and for the Planet” with a cooking demonstration using fresh vegetables that come straight from the Hyatt Park Community Garden on Hamilton Street. You can buy food from Honey’s Empanadas, Healthy Fool and Jammin’ Flava (Jamaican) food trucks and drinks from Calvert Brewing and Vigilante Coffee.

If you and your family like music, you will enjoy Amy Watson’s Bluegrass Duo, Janet Nackoney’s clarinet quartet, Jim Groves and Co. singing blues and rock to guitar, Adam OrtIz and his indie rock band, Blue Plains, and Mary Amato singing contemporary folk originals with uke and acoustic guitar. Master Gardeners, the Hyattsville Horticultural Society and ECO City Farms will have information tables. In addition, staff from ECO City Farms will give away yard signs from the Sierra Club that say “Pesticide Free” and “Bee Safe” to all those who promise not to use chemicals in their gardens. Community Forklift will have a display of fun things that are recycled.

Along with other vendors and displays, 12 electric cars will be parked nearby with their owners ready to answer any questions and talk about the technical aspects and practicalities of their green vehicles. This is part of the kickoff for National Drive Electric Week. In addition, there will be games for kids, as well as environmental/health trivia and vendor bingo for all ages.

I hope you can come. Bring lots of friends and family!