The Astonishing Life 17 Facts About Bees

1.There are approximately 20.000 known species of bees which live on all continents except Antarctica, but only a few species produce and store honey. One of those honey bees is Apis mellifera. Bees are thought to be the only insects that produce food that humans eat. Bees are also ecologically important as pollinators.

2. A colony of bees can count from about 20.000 to 80.000 bees or more. Of course, the weaker colonies, especially in winter, have fewer than 20.000 bees.

3. The queen bee can live up to 5 years ( in rare cases up to seven years), and she is the only bee in the hive that lays eggs. The queen bee is most productive in summer months, when a large number of eggs are laid. According to data that can be read in the literature, it is up to 2.500 eggs per day. If we compare the total weight of these eggs with the weight of the queen bee, we will see that the weight of the eggs exceeds the weight of the queen bee. A three-day-old egg laid by the queen bee is magnified 6 times within 9 minutes. That leads us to the conclusion that bee life happens really fast.

4. In summer, about 1.000 worker bees die in each hive every day, but more than that are born every 24 hours.

5. Male bees are called drones. They have no bee sting. Their task is to mate with the queen bee. They are also believed to help maintain the microclimate in the hive.

6. Worker bees are actually sexually undeveloped females.

7. Field bees leave the hive several times during the day and return to it loaded with nectar and pollen. The effect of worker bees in collecting nectar or pollen is greater when pasture is close and flights are shorter. If the pasture is 1 km away from the apiary, the bees will return to the hive at full load in 3-5 minutes, and they will fly 3 km in 20-25 minutes. So it is true that a bee can fly away from the hive almost 8 km and without a mistake, it will find its way back, but when the hive is closer to the sources of nectar, the efficiency of the bees is greater. 

8. Flying without load, a bee develops a speed of up to 65 km per hour. In one minute it flies over 1 km. Loaded with nectar and pollen, the bee reduces the flight speed to 18-36 km per hour, depending on the course and direction of the wind. The bee consumes 0.43 mg of sugar contained in nectar per 1 km of flight, so from this data we can see how important it is that the bee pastures are near. 

9. When a bee flies, it swings several times in one second. According to data that can be found in the literature, a bee swings its wings more than 400 times in one second, which is why we hear the sound when bees fly.

10. When bees bring nectar into the hive, the nectar contains a high level of water as well. Bees remove water by distributing drops of nectar on the cells of the honeycomb, that is they move the nectar from the cell to the cell several times until the excess water evaporates.

11. In spring, 70% of bees bring water into the hive, 20% bring nectar, and 10% bring in pollen.

12. The brain of a bee is oval in shape and as large as a sesame seed, but this does not mean that they do not have an extraordinary ability to learn and memorize and that they are not capable of making complex calculations related to their “trips”.

13. Honey bees have 170 odor receptors that enable them to recognize relatives, have social communication within the hive, and find food. Their sense of smell is so precise that they can distinguish hundreds of different plant species.

14. Each bee in the colony has a unique scent so that members of the colony can recognize it.

15. Honey bees communicate through “dance”.

16. Only worker bees can sting and only if they feel that they are in danger. Queen bees have stings, but never use them, or they use it in exceptional moments. While in most cases they die after they sting a human, most bees do not die after they sting another insect or animal. The reason is that the sting gets “attached” to the human skin and gets ripped from the bee’s body. 

17. Honey bees get a job in the hive based on their age, for example worker bees’ jobs look like this:

  • 1-2 day old: they spend their days cleaning the cells starting with the one in which they were born;
  • 3-5 days old: they feed the older larvae;
  • 6-11 days old: they feed the younger larvae;
  • 12-17 days old: they produce way, make “honey cells”, carry food, and perform mortuary duties;
  • 18-21 days old: they guard the entrance of the hive and protect it from intruders;
  • 22 days old until death (40-45 days old): they collect nectar, pollen, water, and they pollinate, …
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Behadir Kadric
I am a beekeeper. I have spent hours reading literature about bees, their features, their hard work and the valuable role they play in nature and the people. I want to familiarize the people all around the globe with the beautiful world of bees. I also wish to help raise awareness about these small creatures that help us in saving our planet.

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