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The Life of a Honey Bee
Honeybees are one of the most amazing insects ever to inhabit this planet. Many people hate honeybees due to their painful sting. It's hard to outrun these creatures as they fly at speeds of up to 16mph! On the other hand, many people love these bees due to their honey. However, few truly know the amount of work put into making this honey.
When you buy honey, you usually purchase about 2 pounds of it, right? You probably think that's not very much. If they could talk, honeybees would not agree. In fact, "[t]o produce 2 pounds of honey, bees travel a distance equal to 4 times around the earth" (http://www.funshun.com/amazing-facts/bee-insects-facts.html). Not only that, but they also have to visit approximately 4,000,000 flowers to gather these 2 pounds! How do they make so much honey, then? The answer is simple: there are 40-45,000 bees in every hive to produce this honey. Still, "it takes 12 honeybees to make one teaspoon of honey" (http://www.funshun.com/amazing-facts/bee-insects-facts.html). So what's the queen bee doing all the while?
The Queen Bee
I used to think the queen bee was some big, lazy bee that laid a few eggs a day. Now I know that those "few" eggs are actually 2,000 eggs. That's right, while her workers spend their lives only to get 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey, the queen bee lays 5-6 eggs per minute! That's an egg every 10 seconds. Not the kind of life I would want to live, but the queen doesn't have a choice. She has to keep her hive flourishing so that it can continue to produce honey and more bees. If you were a bee, wouldn't you want to be that lucky guy that gets to mate with the queen?
When the queen is ready, she flies from the hive and mates with bees from other colonies called Drones. In that short time she's in the air, the queen "would have mated with 10 or more drones and during their coupling, the drones sex organ snapped off and stayed inside the queen until every bit of sperm was transferred. The drones fall helplessly to the ground to die" (http://www.beemaster.com/site/honeybee/qpage.htm). Mating with the queen might not be the best idea after all.
I hope that next time you eat honey, you will truly enjoy it knowing how far it has come and knowing the amount of work put into making it!
Want to learn more?
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