One in five schoolchildren can’t tell the difference between a wasp and a bee

Arla make Cravendale, Lurpak and Anchor and process approximately two billion litres of milk a year. They are one of the biggest suppliers of milk in the UK and in 2011 are launching some massive efforts to bring ‘kids closer to nature‘. You can apply for grants and get teaching ideas on their website with further initiatives later in the year including a nature explorers club. I met with some of the team behind this work and they clearly really care about what they are doing.. wanting to reach those children who are hard to reach. In their words, this is what the their campaign is all about.


One in five school-children can’t tell the difference between a wasp and a bee

Researchers found 21 per cent of kids aged between six and twelve didn’t know what a wasp looked like – with one in six mistaking it for a bee.

Incredibly, five per cent picked ‘fly’ when shown a picture of a bumble bee. Children were also baffled by the difference between rodents.

More than a quarter had no idea what a mouse looked like. And 12 per cent thought a heron was a FLAMINGO.

But adults didn’t fare much better in the study – with one in twenty believing trees which don’t lose their leaves during winter were called CARNIVORES and less than half knew bananas grew on branches.

The study of 1,000 kids and 2,000 adults was carried out by Arla Foods (home to some of the UK’s leading dairy brands including Cravendale, Anchor and Lurpak), to encourage kids as part of their campaign to get kids closer to nature.

More than one in ten adults (12 per cent) admitted they have ‘no interest’ in the outdoors, while 22 percent blame bad weather and a third said their youngsters have ‘other hobbies’ to keep them entertained.

Yet 39 per cent they are worried their children don’t know enough about wildlife and 52 per cent reckon they watch too much television.

And while kids spend more than two hours a day stuck in front of the box or on computer games, a quarter enjoy less than half an hour of fresh air.

A spokesperson for Arla said: ”Children are becoming increasingly alienated from nature and the great outdoors yet engaging with nature has been proven to have a positive impact on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Our study revealed a quarter of children said they wished they spent more time outdoors, while one in five parents limit their kids to indoor activities because it’s more convenient and less time-consuming.

“Many adults have forgotten the joy of nature – two thirds say their children spend less time playing outside then they did as a child. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming, just going for a walk in the park or growing cress on the window sill are great ways to get kids closer to nature.”

The nationwide study quizzed respondents on their level of knowledge on birds, animals, flowers and trees.

But adults appeared clueless too – four in ten didn’t know what tree conkers fell from, one in five couldn’t identify a magpie and six per cent thought raspberries and strawberries grew on TREES.

It emerged the typical family has had just six trips into the countryside in the last 12 months, while one in twenty said it has been a year or longer since they last went to a park or trekked through a field.

Four in ten parents blamed their hectic lifestyle and ‘feeling too tired’ by the time it’s the weekend to venture outside.


  1. Hectic lifestyle
  2. Kids have other hobbies
  3. Too little time spent outdoors
  4. Never the right weather to do anything
  5. Work commitments
  6. Youngsters don’t show an interest
  7. Kids are more interested being stuck in front of the TV/computer games
  8. Too tired by the time it’s the weekend to venture outside too far
  9. I have no interest in the outdoors
  10. Difficult to make learning about nature interesting


Find out more and support their work at

2 Responses to “One in five schoolchildren can’t tell the difference between a wasp and a bee”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Recent surveys have found that children are playing less in the green outdoors and that significant numbers of children cannot identify common creatures and plants – like daddy-long-legs, oak tree, blue tit or bluebells (in a 2008 survey) or bees and wasps (2010 survey). […]

  2. […] muddled about where milk comes from (tetrapak cartons, duh!). While this survey on the fab blog Love Outdoor Play shows how only 1 in 5 children knows the difference between a bee and a wasp. Though come to think […]

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