Learn about the fascinating honey bees and how hard they work to keep their colonies thriving. Did you know it takes the nectar of two million flowers to make one pound of honey? Read on for more honey bee facts and information.
It’s all about huge numbers
A single worker bee produces only about 1 1/2 teaspoon of honey in their whole life. Tens of thousands of worker honey bees are needed to produce enough honey to support the entire bee colony.
The life of bees
Queen bees have an average lifespan of 3 years, but can live up to 6 years. The workers and the drones live for upto three months.
12,000 wing flaps per minute
Honey bees are only meant to fly for short distances. Their flying speed is about 24 kmph. Their wings are very small and they are laden with pollen to carry to their home. They have to flap their wings 12,000 times a minute for a successful flight.
Honey bee colonies can have upto 80,000 honey bees
Honey bees are small and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in a honey bee colony. The beehives constitute three types of honeybees: the female queen which is always one in a colony, the worker females which form the majority of population in the hive and male drones which are less than 4% of the hive. Worker bees collect nectar, make honey and build the wax in the honey bee cells where honey is stored. The main function of the male drones is to fertilize the queen bee. They die immediately after mating.
The queen bee stores a lifelong supply of sperm
The queen bee has to mate within 20 days of leaving her cell. The drone that provides its sperm can never mate again. The queen stores the sperm in her spermatheca and uses it throughout her life to fertilize eggs.
Queen bee lays 1 million eggs in her lifetime
She can lay upto 1500 eggs in a day and 1 million in her lifetime. She does not do anything else.The worker bees take care of her nutrition, food and hygiene.
The constant temperature in beehives
The worker bees protect the queen bee from cold by surrounding her completely. The bees maintain a constant temperature of about 93 º C inside the hive during the year. When temperatures drop, bees form a group inside their hive to keep warm. The workers are grouped around the queen, to achieve their isolation from the outside cold.
Complex symbolic language used by honey bees
They have as many as one million neurons in a brain of one cubic millimeters. Honey bees use “waggle dance” to communicate with one another and tell each other about food locations. In addition, they use odor to communicate with each other
What exactly is honey
The bees collect nectar from flowers and other plant secretions. They combine it with the enzyme invertase and store it in their honeycomb where the honey develops.