10 Interesting Facts About Honey Bees
For a few years, my summer job was working for a local bee keeper. I would sell and package honey and I got to witness many interesting occurrences. I was terrified of bees before I started working there; Now I not only got over my fear but I am fascinated by them as well. Honey bees are very important to us and are responsible for a great deal of the world's pollination. I have compiled some very interesting facts that I learned working for a beekeeper. Hopefully you'll learn something!
- Worker honey bees are all females. Males do not know how to even feed themselves and their only reason for being in the hive is for reproducing with the queen. The males do not have a stinger and they are kicked out of the hive in the fall, because there are no uses for them.
- Honey bees are very clean and I'd like to think they have slight OCD (like me). They want their hive (which they made themselves, hexagon by hexagon) to be immaculately clean. If something dirties their hive, they will immediately get the offense out. The only honey bee in the hive that uses the bathroom inside the hive is the queen. She never leaves the hive, so her faithful workers get her mess right out. Bees will also make sure that when their time comes, they will die outside of the hive.
- There is only one queen per hive. The queen lives 2-3 years as appose to the 6-8 weeks like the workers. The queen is made, rather than born. Worker bees will feed larvae royal jelly for a certain period of time. The royal jelly is secreted through the heads of the worker bees and is fed through their antennas to the larvae. The royal jelly has so many vitamins and nutrients it will allow for the larvae to become queens. Since there can only be one queen per hive, the potential queen bees will fight to the death until there is one queen remaining.
- Honey bees, like their name implies, are the only insects to make honey. Bumblebees make a honey like substance, but it tastes nothing like the sweet honey we know and love. They also make this in very small quantities. Honey bees though make honey in surplus so bee keepers are able to take a certain amount without hurting the bees or depriving them of food.
- Honey bees never sleep! No wonder worker bees have such a short lifespan!
- Honey bees are the only insects that produce something that humans eat. It is also the only food that never goes bad! Its sugar content is too high. Edible honey was found in King Tut's tomb!
- The honey bee colonies each have a distinct odor which allows for them to identify the members. Often times bee keepers will need to assimilate colonies. A way to do that would be to place bees from each colony into a paper bag together. The paper bag should have a divider so each colony stays in its own side. Being in the container together the smells will mix and they will not be able to recognize the other bees as enemies due to their familiar odor.
- The Queen bee lays around 2,000 eggs per day! She can also select the gender of the larvae. Most larvae that will be produced will be female.
- The Average honey bee will produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. To make one pound of honey it would take 556 workers and 2 million flowers. 50-100 flowers are pollinated during one collection trip. About one ounce of honey is all it takes to give the honey bee enough energy to fly around the world (although the farthest they usually fly away from their hive is six miles).
- Bees are responsible for 80% of pollination that occurs. So next time you're eating any fruit or vegetable, thank a honey bee!
are very important to us. If honey bees made a hive near your house that you
want to get rid of, please do not use pesticides! Call a local bee keeper and
you can have it removed!
Also, visit http://beeswithoutborders.org/ and see how you can help alleviate world wide hunger!
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