September 16, 2019/Bee
  • By Nectar Foods

For centuries, beekeepers have raised honey bees, harvesting the sweet honey they produce and relying on them to pollinate crops. In fact, honey bees pollinate an estimated one-third of all the food crops we consume. Here, we reveal some interesting fun facts about honey bees.

The name bee was gotten from Latin word APIs.  Bees are mostly called honey bee because of their ability to produce honey.

It seems to have originated in eastern tropical Africa and spread from there to Europe and eastwards into Asia to the Tien Shan range. They are found on every continent on earth, except for Antarctica.  It is variously called the European, western, or common honey bee in different parts of the world. The Bee has two wings, two antennae, and three segmented body parts (the head, the thorax, and the abdomen). The honey bees forage for nectar and pollen from flowering plants.  They use the nectar collected to create our favourite sweet treat – honey!  It has a long, straw-like tongue called a proboscis that allows them to drink the nectar from deep within flowers. They use the nectar collected to create our favourite sweet treat – honey! Honey bee measure about 15 mm long and are light brown. Honey bees are usually oval-shaped creatures with golden-yellow colours and brown bands.

Although the body colour of honey bees varies between species and some honey bees have predominantly black bodies, almost all honey bees have varying dark-to-light strips. These light and dark stripes serve a purpose for the survival of the honey bee: unlike other species that hide when they sense predators close by, the brightly coloured bodies of the honey bee act as a warning to predators or honey robbers of the honey bees’ ability to sting.

The following are ten fun facts about bees that you should know:

1. Honey bees are super-important pollinators for flowers, fruits, vegetables. This means that they help other plants grow by transferring pollen between the male and female parts of a flower, in the process of sucking the flower’s nectar, thereby,  allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit.

2. Honey bees live in hives i.e. a box-like container (or colonies). The members of the hive are divided into three types:

Queen: There is one queen bee per hive – she is the mom of all the other bees. She is the only fertile member of the colony and lays about 1,500 eggs a day during spring and summer. One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs that will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behaviour of the other bees.

Workers: Worker bees are all female, and their roles are to forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, clean and circulate air by beating their wings. Workers are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside the hive. And they do almost everything for the hive. From birth to her death 45 days later, the worker bee is given different tasks to do during different stages of her life

Drones: Male bees are called drones. Their job is to mate with queens from other hives. If they do get the opportunity to mate, they die immediately afterwards. If they do not mate, they can live up to 90 days (that’s twice as long as a worker bee!)

You can identify drones in the hive by their big round bodies and large eyes. Drones are incapable of stinging

3. Honey bees are famous for the production of Delicious honey! But did you know they produce honey as food stored for the hive during winter? Luckily for us, these efficient little workers produce 2-3 times more honey than they need, so we get to enjoy the tasty treat, too!

4. If the queen bee dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva (the newly hatched baby insects) and feeding it a special food called “royal jelly“. This enables the larva to develop into a fertile queen.

5. Honey bees are fab flyers. They fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second!

6. Each bee has 170 odorant receptors, which means they have one serious sense of smell! They use this to communicate within the hive and to recognize different types of flowers when looking for food.

7. The average worker bee lives for just five to six weeks. During this time, she’ll produce around a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.

8. The queen can live up to five years. She is busiest in the summer months when she can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day!

9. Honey bees are also brilliant boogies! To share information about the best food sources, they perform their ‘waggle dance’. When the worker returns to the hive, it moves in a figure-of-eight and waggles its body to indicate the direction of the food source. Cool, huh?

10. The bee’s brain is oval and about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has a remarkable capacity to learn and remember things. For example, it can make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.

That’s it! We hope you found most of our fun facts about honey bees quite interesting. Let us know in the comments!