Honey Bee Facts You Should Know
So you think you know all about honey bees? Well, the honey bee is one of the most studied life forms in existence. But some of the honey bee facts that we think we know are wrong. And, you may learn some new things about bees too!
Numerous books have been written on all aspects of bee life. Some researchers have devoted their entire lives to the study of the honey bee.
And, this has yielded some truly fascinating facts about the life of bees. But in spite of being the subject of countless years of research, the bees still have secrets.
We are still learning new things about this popular insect. The well known honey bee and the ways they affect our world are still a source of intrigue.
Honey Bee – It’s all in the Name
There are many kinds of bees in the world. The most well know types are Bumble Bees and Honey Bees. However, not every bee makes honey.
When your name says honey – you have a lot to live up to. The honey bee’s scientific name “Apis Mellifera” means honey-carrying bee!
The world is filled with many different types of bees. We are familiar with the honey bee. What about the others – Do All Bees Make Honey?
Honey bees gather nectar from millions of blooming flowers. This nectar is taken back to the hive to be converted into honey. What a remarkable process, you need to know more. – How Bees Make Honey
Without a store of food to nourish the colony during the cold months, a honey bee colony would not be able to survive from one warm season to the next.
In fact, honey bees have a remarkable Winter survival strategy. Using stored honey to survive until Spring, a colony that runs out of honey is dead. Not every bee does this – honey bees do not hibernate. How do Bees Survive Winter.
Of course, plant nectar is not the only thing honey bees collect. Honey bees need a protein source too. They collect pollen but they do not use it to make honey. Discover What Bees Do With Pollen.
Even within the hive, you will find some variation. A normal honey bee colony has 3 different kinds of bees inside. – 3 Kinds of Honey Bees In a Hive
Are Honey Bees are True Insects?
This may sound like an over simplified statement. Yet, not every living thing that looks like an insect is indeed a member of that scientific family.
In order to be consider and insect, they must have certain characteristics. Learn more about the classification of honey bees in – Is a Bee an Insect?
Bees are only 1 kind of insects. There are many, many more types to get to know. Wasps for instance – Often mistaken for bees – they are very different. – The Differences Between Bees and Wasps
Like all living things bees need periods of rest. After all, they are very hard workers. In fact, bees sleep inside the hive and sometimes outside too! – Do Bees Sleep
Honey Bees Use Their Antennae for Smell
The honey bee uses her pair of antennae like a nose. This is how she detects scents.
An acute sense of smell helps bees locate nectar and pollen rich flowers. They can detect a trace of scent even while in flight.
This sensitivity of bees to odor is something for beekeepers to remember. A beekeeper should avoid strong smells during hive inspections.
If you go into the hive smelling like a sweaty bear… the reception you receive may not be a good one.
Bees make use of their sense of smell in order to find food and other things that the colony needs. Nutrition is very important to a growing bee colony. – What do Bees Eat?
Foraging bees work together to collect food for the colony. In addition to this keen sense of smell, they also dance to communicate the location of rich food sources. – Secrets of the Honey Bee Dance Language
Bee Wings Make the Buzz
For many years, researchers could not understand how bees could fly. In recent years using robots, scientists have finally been able to understand the aerodynamics of how bees fly and carry heavy loads.
To understand more about how bees mystified scientists read. – The Flying Bee that Defied Science
Bee Colonies May Grow to 60K
It takes a large work force to perform the duties required by a honey bee colony. Outside the hive, foragers collect nectar, pollen and water.
Not every colony will grow this large in population. However, it is very possible for a healthy Summer colony to reach a large size.
Bees live in large families that vary in size throughout the season. Their home is called a beehive. – What is a Beehive?
Worker Honey Bees
Worker bees literally work themselves to death during the warm season. This is why it is important to constantly have a new supply of young bees being produced.
Thousands of worker bees are necessary to maintain all colony functions. They are the most important bees in the hive. The Role of the Worker Honey Bee.
In fact, we are so impressed with the work ethic of bees – we have created many quotes, proverbs and sayings about them. – Bee Quotes that Will Give You a Buzz!
Where are the Baby Bees?
Bees have a relatively short life span. Few survive from one season to the next. But, we don’t see baby honey bees flying around – do we? This is because honey bees emerge fully grown. – Baby Bees – Where are They?
For beekeepers, being able to identify the various stages of developing bees is an important task. The number and kinds of brood will define whether a colony is growing or in need of help. – Bee Brood – Everything You Need to Know
A constant source of new bees being produced is an important task for the honey bee colony. It takes thousands of workers to meet the needs of the hive. Other bees such as Bumble Bees have different needs. How Long Do Bees Live.
Honey Bee Stings
Honey bees are not aggressive but will sting in defense if they feel threatened.
If you are stung, you can thank a worker bee. These female bees are the guardians of the colony.
You can learn how to avoid stings by understanding more about this defense reaction. Read – Why do Bees Sting?
Drone Bees are the Males Bees
Male bees (drones) develop from unfertilized eggs. Their only function is to mate with virgin queen bees.
Because no semen is used to create drones, they have no father. However, they do receive genetic material from their mother. (who had a mother and father.)
Even though drone bees do not work inside the hive, they are still very important to a healthy hive. Read more about them – Drone Bees.
Honey Bee Queens Can Live Longer
The queen honey bee is the most important single bee in the colony. She is the mother of the colony. What does the queen actually do, you make ask? – The Role of the Queen Honey Bee.
A queen bee has the capacity to live longer than the other types of bees in the hive. However, if she fails to do her job, the colony will quickly replace her. – Life Cycle of the Queen Honey Bee
The Colony Recognizes a Missing Queen Quickly
The colony shows the importance of a laying queen by the speed at which her absence is recognized.
One of the main methods of communication within the beehive is through pheromones. These chemical messengers passed throughout the hive.
If the queen is missing for more than 15 minutes, the bees know. Once her pheromone levels begin to drop, the colony becomes agitated.
Queen Bees Lay A lot of Eggs
A young healthy queen may lay as many as 1,000 to 2,000 eggs per day during Spring. On an average basis, it is a much lower number.
However, during prime season the queen is a true egg laying machine. Much research has been completed on the queen honey bee and her importance to colony life. Learn more about her – Queen Bee Facts
Bees Visit 2 Million Flowers to Make 1 Pound of Honey
On average, foragers visit 2 million individual blooms to collect enough nectar to make 1 pound of honey. A bee visits 50 – 100 flowers during a foraging trip.
You can help local bees and pollinators by making bee friendly choices for your garden. Not all flowers feed bees. Learn which ones provide nectar or pollen. – Flowers that Attract Bees
Honey Bee – Only Insect that Produces Food for Humans
Mankind has been harvesting honey from bee colonies for thousands of years. The honey bee does not make honey for us – but thankfully they make enough to share.
Honey Bees Make Beeswax
Honey bees build sheets of beautiful honeycomb filled with thousands of individual cells. These hexagonal cells provide room to raise young and store food.
Where does this beeswax come from? Worker honey bees have special glands on the underside of their abdomen. How Bees Make Wax.
Honey bees are not the only one who make use of beeswax. We humans find many creative ways to use excess beeswax in and around our homes. – Beeswax Uses
Honey Bees Are Important Pollinators
Honey bees are very important to modern agriculture. They offer valuable pollination services to farmers. The value of honey bee pollination exceeds that of honey production by a large amount. Amazing Bee Pollination Facts
And even more, here are some facts about bees that are just for fun – even though they are amazing to consider. – 103 Bee Facts
Honey bees and humans have a relationship dating back thousands of years. Let’s hope we are able to continue to learn even more about them.
You can get more involved with the world of the honey bee. Have you considered becoming a beekeeper?