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Bees! What’s not to love about them? OK. So we know that not everyone is a fan of these little buzzers. But without them, the world would be a very different place!
Personally, we think bees are Bee-rilliant! And just in case you are still not sure about them, here are 30 bee facts you need to know.
Bee Facts: 1 – 10
1: Bees need to collect nectar from approximately 2 million flowers to make just 1 pound of honey.
2: Talking about numbers, when it comes to different species of bees, there are over 20,000 of them! Of which just a handful make honey.
3: Bees can see every colour except for red. They also see ultraviolet light, making their world look very different to ours!
4: Honey is not bee vomit. And no… It’s not bee poop either. Nectar collected from flowers is stored in a special second stomach, separate from its true stomach. This is then regurgitated via the proboscis.
5: Collectively, a colony of bees will fly approximately 90,000 miles to produce just 1 lb of honey. That’s the equivalent of flying around the world 3 times!
6: Honeybees can fly at speeds up to 15 miles per hour and stay in the air for a distance of roughly 6 miles.
7: When out collecting nectar during the summer months, the average bee will visit approximately 50 to 100 flowers.
8: Bees communicate with dance. Certain moves indicate different things, such as the direction of a meadow filled with nectar-rich flowers. The waggle dance shows other bees where flowers are in relation to the hive and sun.
9: Bees brains are small (sesame seed sized) but they are incredibly intelligent! They are able to calculate distances with accuracy and remember precise locations.
10: Each colony of bees has one Queen and between 20000 and 60000 workers. All worker bees are female, who have an average lifespan of just six weeks.
Bee Facts: 11 – 20
11: Male bees do not have a stinger. Stingers are modified egg laying organs, so only females can sting. Males are called drones and spend their lifetime mating.
12: Queen bees have an average lifespan of between four and five years. The queen is the only bee that lays eggs and is able to lay approximately 2500 eggs each day.
13: Honey production has remained the same for more than 150 million years. Honeybees are so effective at their job that evolution has not changed a thing.
14: Honeybees have been domesticated by humans for more than 5,000 years. The oldest jar of honey ever discovered was found in Egyptian tomb and still tasted great after two thousand years.
15: In a colony, the queen bee is the largest. Drones are next in size, finally followed by the worker bees.
16: A bees wings beat at 11,400 times per minute (190 times per second!) This is what creates a bees distinctive buzzing sound.
17: Unlike worker bees, a queen bee’s stinger is smooth. This means that she is able to repeatedly sting a human without dying. Worker bees have a barb on their stinger that gets lodged into thick skin.
18: Unfortunately, it is true that when a bee stings a human, its fate is sealed. As it tries to pull out its barbed stinger, it’s digestive tract, part of its stomach, nerves, and muscles are pulled out. It will die within 10 minutes to 1 hour after stinging a thick-skinned mammal.
19: The bumblebee is the friendliest of all the bees. This gentle giant is the largest of all bee species and almost never shows aggression toward humans. There are even videos online of bumblebees high-fiving humans! Also, most bumblebees are solitary bees.
20: Bees don’t bite! They sting! When someone says that a bee bit them, they are wrong. A bees mandible (mouth parts) is unable to penetrate human skin. So no, bees don’t bite.
Bee Facts: 21 – 30
21: A bees proboscis is a straw-like tongue that lets it suck up liquids and exchange food with other bees. The exchange of food is called trophallaxis.
22: There are two food sources for bees: pollen and nectar. Pollen is a protein-rich powder, while nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by flowers.
23: Bees and other pollinating insects pollinate 75% of the worlds flowering plants. Without them, 35% of the world’s food crops would no longer exist.
24: Besides honey, female workers produce royal jelly, beeswax, propolis, and venom.
25: In Europe, there is a complete ban on bee harming pesticides! In the United States, only 12 out of 59 pesticides containing clothianidin and thiamethoxam are banned.
26: Bees don’t just live in hives. They also live in bees nests and burrow underground. The leafcutter bee, mason bee, and bumblebee all like living in hollows in tree trunks.
27: Talking about homes. Bee Hotels are becoming hugely popular in gardens around the world. These structures provide hole-nesting bees a place to live. Think of them as bird boxes… but for bees!
28: Honey bees are not on the verge of extinction. But unfortunately, many wild bees are. 250 species of bees in the UK are now in rapid decline.
29: Megachile pluto is the largest and rarest bee in the world. This giant is only found in Indonesia, can have a wingspan of 2.5 inches, and the first ever video of a live female has only been captured this year!
30: The average bee will forage at approximately 2 miles from its hive. But they have been noted to travel as far as 6 miles to reach a food source.
We Bet You’re Buzzing Now
See! We told you that bees are amazing. There is so much more to them than just honey and hives. Every day, these hard little workers go about their day pollinating plants and help keep ecosystems thriving.
Sure. Other insects do a great job of pollinating too! From beetles to butterflies and flies to ants, they all play an important role.But when it comes to pollination, the bee is the poster child.
Next time one comes buzzing into your garden, don’t chase it away. Let it do its thing and be on its way in peace. If you want a garden filled with fragrant and colourful flowers, then more bees = more beauty.
So, that’s about it for today’s post. Hopefully, it has opened your eyes to the world of bees and answered a few questions you had along the way. Here are a few awesome bee infographics you might enjoy!
How many of these awesome bee facts did you already know? And which of them is your favourite? Leave us a comment below or get active in the conversation on our Facebook page.