If you're looking for honey bee facts, here are some quick snippets of information to get you started, including historical points of interest.
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• Only female honey bees sting, the males do not.
• If the queen honey bee is removed from the hive, within 15 minutes, the rest of the colony know about it.
• A honey bee queen may lay as many as 1000 eggs per day as she established her colony.
• Honey bees communicate through pheromones passed on through feeding. This is called ‘trophallaxis’. Learn more on this page.
• Drones (male honey bees) die after mating. Poor things! Follow this link to learn more about drones.
• Once honey bee eggs hatch into worker larvae, they’ll be fed around 1,300 times per day! (More information here).
• Foraging bees have to fly about 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey, visiting around 2 million flowers. Check out this link to learn more about how bees make honey, by clicking here.
• No wonder honey bees need a lot of energy. Honey bees fly up to 15 mph and beat their wings 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute!
• Each honey bee makes about 1 twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its life time. Find out how bees make honey here.
• The honey bee is the only insect that produces a food eaten by man.
• Worldwide there are 10 types of honey bee, and one hybrid – the Africanized bee.
• The honey bee is one of the most studied creatures in the world after man!
• Honey bees are descendents of wasps.
• Honey bees belong to the insect order 'Hymenoptera'.
• The honey bee queen should certainly live 2 years, but may even live 3 or 4 years, whilst drones live for 4 – 6 months, and worker honey bees raised in the Spring may only live 6 or 7 weeks (those raised in the autumn may, like drones, live 4 – 6 months). Find out more about the honey bee life cycle.
• Like other bees, honey bees cannot see the colour red. However, they may visit red flowers because they are able to see the U.V. patterns in the flowers. Find out more about how plants attract their perfect pollinators by visiting this page about flower pollination.
• No list of honey bee facts would be complete without reference to that famous dance by honey bees – the ‘waggle dance'. The 'waggle dance' is performed by a honey bee to inform the rest of the workers about the location, quantity and quality of nectar. In describing the location, the honey bee even takes into consideration the angle of the sun!
• As with other types of bees, Honey bees have 5 eyes: 3 simple eyes on top of its head, and 2 compound eyes, with numerous hexagonal facets.
I thought I'd look up a few more honey bee facts related to history.
A Few Historical Honey Bee Facts:
• Honey bees have been around longer than humans – there is fossil evidence from 150 million years ago!
• The ancient Egyptians 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 and also in medicine. Today, honey is believed to have health benefits. Find out more about the health benefits of honey.
• The ancient Egyptians 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 and also in medicine.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• In 1791, during the French Revolution, the government demanded a record of all hives. Honey was used as a source of tax revenue. Many beekeepers who did not wish to pay more tax, destroyed their hives.
Learn more honey bee facts by clicking on some of these links:
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Did you know?
If the honey bee queen is removed from a
hive, within 15 minutes, the rest of the colony will know about it!
Did You Know?
Male honey bees (drones) have no father, but they do have a grandfather!
Does that sound impossible?
Did You Know?
Honey will keep indefinitely in a jar.