Learning more about the fascinating nature of bees is a part of what makes beekeeping so much fun! Here’s a few fun facts to get you started
1. The three types of honey bee
Worker bees (females), Drones (males) and one queen make up a colony, each has a characteristic size.
2. The males are outnumbered…by a lot
A colony normally contains only one queen, a few hundred drones and up to 60,000 worker bees.
3. Bees are essential for our existence
We rely on bees for nearly 1/3 of our entire food supply! Not to mention all the fibres, spices and medicines in the plants they pollinate. That makes each little bee very important!
4. They’ve been around since the dinosaurs
Bees have been on earth for over 200 million years, in 2013 scientific evidence proved a mass extinction of bees happened around 65 million year but they managed to pull through
5. Multipurpose honeycomb
Bees use honeycomb to store honey, store pollen, or for the queen to lay eggs in and make more bees. They can also produce a substance called propolis which they can use to plug gaps in their hive, it’s basically bee glue!
6. They created the worlds most efficient substance
If they made square honeycomb, the corners would be wasted on growing spherical bees, circular honeycomb wouldn’t line up and also waste space. This makes hexagonal comb the perfect shape to maximise space to store honey and produce bees. 200 million years of evolution will teach you a few things!
7. Bees can recognise human faces
Honeybees make out faces the same way we do using what’s called “configural processing.” This involves piecing together all the different components of a face - eyes, ears, nose and mouth - to form a recognisable pattern.
8. Queens don’t muck around
A queen can lay as many as 2,000 eggs per day during the height of main egg-laying season.
9. Bees dance for good food
Bees get just as excited about good food as we do! A honeybee performs a carefully choreographed "waggle" dance instructing the rest of the hive where to find a food source.
9. Meet the locals
Honey bees will forage in a radius of up to 3 to 4 km from the hive.
10. One Bee = Only 1/12 of a teaspoon of Honey
With natural preservatives, honey is also the only food that does not spoil while in an edible state!
11. Bees don’t need a GPS
Bees have the ability to calculate angles… they can calculate distances without using a GPS!
12. Bees are fuel efficient
It takes just one ounce of honey to fuel a bee's flight around the world!
13. Two pukus!
Bees have two stomachs — one for eating and the other for storing honey.
14. Bee Sting Therapy…sounds crazy!
Apitherapy is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees. A growing number of people are now choosing to be stung by bees as an alternative form of illness treatment!
15. Bees don’t need gyms
In fact, that “buzz” you hear when bees are flying is the sound of their wings flapping. They will flap its wings about 11,400 times per minute!
16. Long live the queen
A queen may live for up to 4 years but will typically be replaced by the beekeeper after 2 years.
17. Bees have a unique ID
Bee colonies have unique odours that members flash to the guard bees at the entrance to the hive.
18. Are Bees really that busy?
Hot and dry weather can result in bees producing less than half the honey they usually would. Taking hot weather days off seems pretty slack to us!
19. Are Bees important?…yup!
Crops pollinated by bees make up 35% of global food production.
19. They heat up by shivering
Like humans, bees warm up by shaking their body, unlike humans though, they work together to heat the entire hive. They cluster together and move their body to raise their body temperature and use kinetic energy to heat the hive.
20. Bees in space
Honey bees have been sent into space by NASA twice: in 1982 and 1984. On their second trip, the bees built a normal, functioning honeycomb in zero gravity!