Honey Bee Facts

  1. Male honey bees die after mating.
  2. A typical honey bee colony may have between 20,000 and 60,000 workers.  
  3. Honey bees communicate direction and distance of resources found by performing what is called the “Waggle Dance “ by wiggling on the honeycomb in the hive so that the other bees can find it.
  4. The Honey Bee’s scientific name is Apis mellifera.Apis is Latin for “bee”, and mellifera is Latin for “honey-bearing”.
  5. Only the female honey bees have stingers.
  6. A male honey bee is called a Drone.
  7. If the queen honey bee is removed from the hive, the remaining bees know it within a very short amount of time.
  8. A female bee comes from a fertilized egg and a male bee comes from an unfertilized egg.
  9. A male honey bee only has DNA from the queen.
  10. The queen honey bee is almost twice the length of a worker bee.
  11. A honey bee queen may lay as many as 2500 eggs per day when building up the colony for honey production.
  12. Honey bees communicate through pheromones 
  13. To produce a pound of honey, foraging honey bees will fly about 55,000 miles, and visit an estimated 2 million flowers. 
  14. Honey bees typically fly up to 3 miles to forage, but may fly up to 18 miles if they need to.
  15. Honey bees can fly up to 15 miles per hour and can beat their wings 200 times per second, which figures out to be 12,000 beats per minute.
  16. Each honey bee makes less than a teaspoon of honey in its life time.
  17. The honey bee is the only insect that produces a food that man eats.
  18. Honey bees use the following body parts to taste: their front feet, tongue, jaw, and antennae.
  19. The tips of the antennae have more than 300 taste sensors.
  20. The honey bee is one of the most scientifically studied creatures in the world.
  21. Honey bees mainly eat nectar and pollen. When there is no fresh nectar coming in, only then will they eat the stored honey.
  22. The honey bee queen lives 2-5 years, Drones live for 55 days on average, and Spring & Summer worker honey bees only live about 6 weeks, where Autumn worker honey bees can live 4 to 6 months.
  23. The hexagon structure of honeycombs enables bees to make the most efficient use of beeswax while maintaining the strongest structure.  
  24. Like other bees, honey bees cannot see the color red. They can see things that are red, but they do not see the color as red.
  25. Honey bees have five eyes.
  26. Honey bees have hairy eyes.
  27. Honey bees pollinate nearly 80% of all crops in the United States of America. 
  28. During a year’s time, honey bees are actively pollinating every month in North America.
  29. To keep warm in winter, honey bees huddle together to stay warm.
  30. Honey bees are often thought of as living in wooden bee hives made by humans, but in fact a honey bee colony in the wild will naturally choose to build a nest in the cavities of trees and may nest in a cave, an unused chimney, between walls in a house, or even in unused appliances or boxes.
  31. Honey bee activity is dependent on temperature. Honey bees are most active between 60 – 100 °F, although they can forage in temperatures as low as 55 °F.
  32. Honey bees maintain a constant 93 degrees in the hive.
  33. The honey bee’s brain is about the size of a tiny grain of sugar, but researchers have found that it is surprisingly sophisticated.  Specifically, honey bees can understand conceptual relationships such as “same/different” and “above/below” that rely on relationships between objects rather than simply the physical features of objects.
  34. Honey bees have been around longer than humans – there is fossil evidence from 150 million years ago.
  35. Different countries have kept bees in different ways.  For example, in Europe, people kept bees in straw baskets called skeps, or even in tree trunks adapted for the purpose.  In parts of the Mediterranean and Middle East, clay jars were used. 
  36. The ancient Egyptians and other civilizations used honey as food and medicine.  It was also used in offerings and for embalming the dead. Beeswax was used in magic rites, for preserving medicine. Today, honey is believed to have health benefits.
  37. Humans have been seeking out bees for honey for a long time! Mesolithic rock-paintings in caves near Valencia, Spain, show honey hunters at work. These paintings are believed to date back 6,000 years.
  38. It wasn’t until 1586 that it was recognized that the head of the honey bee colony is a female queen. This news was popularized by Charles Butler (the ‘Father of English Beekeeping’) in his book ‘The Feminine Monarchie’ in 1609. Prior to that, it was assumed the head of the colony must be a male – a ‘king’. Even William Shakespeare, in Henry V, refers to honey bees living in a kingdom, with a king as ruler.
  39. Honey can be fermented to make a type of wine, called “mead”. The earliest evidence for the production of mead is from Northern China, and dates to back to about 7000 BC.
  40. In 1791, during the French Revolution, the government demanded a record of all bee hives. Honey was used as a source of tax revenue. Many beekeepers who did not wish to pay more tax, destroyed their hives.
  41. Native Americans used honey to heal wounds.
  42. Honey has long been mentioned in religious holy books, and even used in religious ceremonies and symbolism.  Here are just a few examples:
  43. – The Bible has many references to honey (among the most famous is the ‘Land of milk and honey’ , but also Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
  44. There are many Hindu references to honey – there is even an Indian Bee goddess – Bhramari Devi – the word Bramari, meaning ‘bees’ in Hindi.  Krishna has been depicted as a bee.
  45. – From the Sikh holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib: (663-10) “My soul is enticed by the honey-sweet lotus feet of the Lord; night and day, I thirst for them.”

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