Bzzzzzz!!! When it comes to the attention of the class, ever get the feeling that all of the multiplication tables in the world can't compete with a single bee? A bee in your classroom can cause quite a prolonged disturbance. Even if none of your children are worried about being stung, the presence becomes a huge distraction to practically all children, grinding productivity to a halt as their eyes follow the darting, distressed bee around the room. How can you direct attention back onto the lesson at hand?
- Keep the children as calm as possible. Of course, the best way to achieve this is by setting a good example. Remember, bees don't like to be in cars or inside a room any more than you want them there. When trapped within walls, they are far more interested in escape than they are in attack.
- If your room has a window, turn the lights off. Bees are attracted to light, and will naturally gravitate toward an open window in a dark room.
- Traps. When you can't open windows, it's possible that you can trap the bee.
- The cup method. Using a cup and a note card or piece of construction paper, you can trap the bee and release it. Wait until the bee has landed on a flat, reachable surface. Act swiftly to cover the bee with the cup. The bee will quickly recognize that it is trapped, buzzing around frantically. Slide the construction paper under the cup to cover the opening. Then you can take the bee outside and release it. Be sure to move away from the bee quickly, as your method has tormented it considerably. Keep a couple clear plastic cups in your room for just such a situation.
- The fancy contraption. If a bee or wasp is impossible to catch and can't be encouraged to leave the room, a passive approach might be just the trick. You won't want to build an elaborate device on the spot; this method applies best to those of you who are looking to avoid prolonged bee distractions in the future. Here's how to construct a trap to ensnare those bees that just won't leave.
When manually catching the bee alive seems impossible, set out one of these traps near a window or bright light. If you notice the bee crawling down the cone toward the opening, you can try to trap it alive by blocking the top of the cone with paper and taking the whole trap outside to release the live bee.
- If you actively try to trap the bee several times unsuccessfully, take a break. Trying repeatedly to trap the bee will only agitate it. An agitated bee is even harder to catch and more likely to sting.
- Allergy concerns. If some of the children are allergic to bee stings, they should leave the room until the bee is gone. Of course, you should not approach the bee either unless you know with certainty that you are not allergic.
Most teachers, at one point, find themselves vying with a tiny insect for the attention of the children. Don't be discouraged when kids can't focus on anything but the bee. Once the ordeal is over, consider the bee an opportunity for learning. If the children have expressed fascination in the bee (and no doubt they have!), demystify its bee-havior (ahem) with a short lesson. Children should learn to respect these insects for the roles they play in our lives.