Bee Facts

Here are some quick bee facts, with links to further information (clicking on each link opens a new window).

Bees really are amazing, and all the time, scientists are discoverying something new. 

In addition, there are a great many species, with many differences between them, from how they gather pollen to the lengths of their tongues!

If you'd like to know specific facts about honey bees only, see the link at the bottom of this page.

But in the meantime .....

Here, we are taking a look at bees generally:

bumblebees,

solitary bees and

honey bees.


General Bee Facts

  • There are about 25,000 known species of bee in the world – and there are probably more to be discovered. Read more about the different types of bees.
  • The majority of bees are actually solitary species, living not together in social colonies as honey bees and bumblebees do, but alone - although some may build their nests close to each other.
  • Bees have different life spans, depending on the kind of bee, and role within the colony! Read more: How Long Do Bees Live?
  • Depending on the species, bees may nest in the ground, or in cavities (such as in tree trunks, or crevices in buildings). Some species nest on the surface of the ground, on tussocks of grass. Learn more about bee nests.
  • Bees belong to the insect order, Hymenoptera, along with wasps, ants and sawflies.
  • Bees are important indicators for the health of the environment. When something is wrong with our bees, something is wrong in the environment!

Bee Facts About Anatomy

  • Bees have different tongue lengths, depending on the species.
  • Bees have 5 eyes – 3 simple eyes on top of the head, and 2 compound eyes, with numerous hexagonal facets. Read more about Bee Anatomy.
  • Bees are trichromatic – just like humans. However, humans base their colour vision on the colours red, green and blue, where as bees base their colour vision on blue, green and UV. Bees cannot see red, but visit red flowers because they are able to see the UV markings on the petals. Read more about how flowers attract their ideal pollinators on my page about Flower Pollination.
  • All bees have two pairs of wings (as do wasps). But identifying and distinguishing between the different types of bees is not always easy! Read more about Bee Identification.



Bee Facts About Evolution

  • It is believed that bees first appeared about 130 million years ago, along with the first flowering plants (angiosperms).
  • The earliest known fossil bee is of Trigona prisca (Meliponinae), found in amber dating from 74 to 94 million years ago.
  • Bees are believed to have evolved from wasps.


Bee Facts About The Largest And The Smallest!

  • The largest bee in the world is reputed to be Megachile pluto, a leafcutter bee whose females can attain a length of 39 mm (1.5") although apparently, males only grow to about 23 mm (0.9") long.
  • The smallest bee in the world is believed to be Trigona minima, a stingless bee whose workers are about 2.1 mm (5/64") long.

Bee Facts - About Pollination

  • Bees are outstanding pollinators generally, but some bees are better suited to pollinating certain plants than other bees, depending on the bee’s method for collecting the pollen, the body shape of the bees, the tongue length, flower preference and so on. Some bees may visit a plant, but not actually pollinate it! Read more about bee pollination.
  • During October 2010, the United Nations published a report, in which they place a value on insect pollination at £134 billion (153bn Euros). A significant portion of this pollination service is provided by bees (although they are not the only insect pollinators).






Find out more bee facts:


Facts about Honey Bees
Check out these quick honey bee facts here.


Quiz
Now you've read all these facts about bees, why not try a quiz?


About Bees
.....or read more about bees first!

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