Updated: 23rd February 2021
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 discovering something new.
If you'd like to know specific facts about honey bees only, see this link.
Here, we are taking a look at bees generally:
- bumble bees,
- solitary bees and
- honey bees.
General Bee Facts
Here are some general facts about bees.
- 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 bumble bees 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). Watch mason bees in their bee house. Some species nest
on the surface of the ground, on tussocks of grass. Learn more about
- Bees sleep! That's right, researchers have studied bees, and have learned that they adopt behaviours which would indicate they snooze.
- Bees eat nectar and pollen, but there are exceptions to this rule, including some stingless bees that eat meat!
- Bees belong to the insect order,
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.
- 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
- 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 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 Quasihesma clypearis. The recorded male length is about 1.8mm,
with a wing length of about 1.2mm. The length of the female is
recorded as being about 2.1mm in length. However, there is another contender for the title called Perdita minima.
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
- 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
Do bees sleep?
Apparently they do, but how do we know?
Bees eat pollen and nectar
- everyone knows that!
But what else do they eat?
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