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Welcome to our free resource to practise for the IGCSE ESL listening test about beekeeping. This is just one of many exercises to reinforce your learning so you feel confident when exam day arrives. More resources are available on the IGCSE ESL site.

bees keeping in the city


VideoListening TestAudio ScriptWord List

You will hear a radio presenter talking to a woman called Maria about beekeeping. Listen to the interview and look at the questions. For each question, choose the correct answer, A, B or C.

1. What made Maria decide to start keeping bees?

2. Maria has enough time to keep bees because

3. What has been Maria’s biggest problem so far?

4. Maria’s bees once became angry because

5. When Maria needed a new queen bee,

6. Maria is amazed by a movement called the ‘waggle dance’ because it shows

7. What does Maria say her greatest success has been?

8. What makes Maria most optimistic about the future of bees?


V1: Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about bees and their declining population. In today’s programme, we’re going to talk to Maria Clooney about her experience with bees. Hello Maria. First of all, why did you take up beekeeping?

V2: Well, a few years ago I read a novel in which the main character kept bees and really enjoyed it. Then I met the author who told me how the story came about. But it wasn’t until I watched a documentary on TV that I chose to become a beekeeper myself.

V1: I imagine beekeeping is really time-consuming.

V2: Well, I work as a journalist so time is very precious. If I could, I’d give up my job during the summer and only work during the winter when the bees don’t need my attention. That’s my dream. In reality, I make a weekly plan and I make sure I have at least two afternoons available to attend to my bees. My children think it’s an old fashioned hobby. However, they give me a hand on the rare occasion when I travel abroad for longer periods of time.

V1: And it must be quite challenging too.

V2: Absolutely. Last year, I faced my greatest challenge yet when the temperature dropped suddenly and my bees were under threat. Over time, I’ve had the usual problems every beekeeper faces such as your bees flying away from their beehive with the queen to form a new home. Or when your bees get badly affected by dangerous pests like wax moths.

V1: I also heard about bees becoming aggressive. Can you tell us a bit about that?

V2: There are many reasons for this behaviour. People say you should wear light-coloured clothing when dealing with bees because dark colours can upset them. I did have a problem recently when a neighbour was burning something in the garden. My bees reacted badly and became irritated. Apparently, this can also happen when they can’t find enough flowers to feed on.

V1: I also heard that sometimes the queen bee has to be replaced.

V2: That’s right. Once, when I had to get a new one, I got a tip from a friend who also keeps bees. She suggested ordering one online. I was quite astonished that people can do that and to my surprise received the special delivery in the post within three days of ordering. In some cases though, the existing queen bee can naturally create a new queen when the group gets too big.

V1: You’re very interested in the behaviour of bees, aren’t you?

V2: Yes, last year I was invited to a lab to observe something called the waggle dance. I’d always thought that this dance was a response to possible danger, such as an earthquake. But in fact, it’s what happens when a bee has found a good source of food and it returns to indicate the distance and the direction of it to the rest of the bees. That’s what I find incredible.

V1: Indeed. We’ve mentioned the challenges of beekeeping, but what about the rewards?

V2: Well, just ensuring your bees don’t pick up any diseases is quite an achievement. I’ve been asked to do some presentations about bees and how important they are for us. I really enjoy doing this. But that was nothing compared to the feeling I got when people started buying my honey at the local market.

V1: And how about bees in the future?

V2: Well, many people worry about bees, but I remain positive. I’ve noticed that more young people are taking up beekeeping as a hobby, especially in cities. And thanks to lots of parks in our towns, there’s been an increase in the amount of food for bees to survive on. This, especially, is really encouraging for me personally. I’ve also noticed a rise in the number of college courses that offer beekeeping. So let’s do our best to make sure that bees are here to stay.

V1: That’s a very good message to end on. Thank you, Maria.

Here are keywords and phrases covered in beekeeping:

  • abroad
  • aggressive
  • beekeeping
  • behaviour
  • challenging
  • declining
  • diseases
  • documentary
  • journalist
  • old fashion hobby
  • observe
  • population
  • replace
  • rewards
  • source of food
  • temperature
Here you will find exercise to practice for the reading and writing section of IGCSE ESL examination for either the core or extended papers.

Exercise 1 (Questions 1 -4) - Short answer exercises

Exercise 2 - (Question 5) Gap-filled exercises

Exercise 3 - Matching

Exercise 4 - Multiple Choice

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