Fun Facts About Bees
One Third of the Food we Eat are Only Available Because of Bees
Grow Flowers to Attract Bees and Other pollinators
The Honey Bee, A Wonder of Nature
Bed Time For Honey Bees
It is once again that time of year when our busy little friends the honey bees are settling down for the winter; they are all tucked up nice and snug inside their hives.
Since the bees are enjoying a well-deserved rest, as the temperature drops below 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13.8 Celsius) now is the ideal time to take the opportunity to learn a few more facts about our usually very active and hard working little friends.
What is a Honey Bee?
The honey bee is an insect of the genus Apis of the tribe Apini. Western or European honey bees are Apis mellifera. The body of the honey bee consists three parts:
A bee has three pairs of jointed legs, stiff hairs on the rear pair of legs allow the bees to store pollen as it flies from flower to flower. The front legs are used as a comb to clean away crumbs. The thorax or middle section of the body is where the two pairs of wings are attached.
The honey bee has two antennae on the forehead containing thousands of small sensors which allow the insect to detect a scent, rather like the human nose. And yes, bees do have five eyes. Bees have two large compound eyes, and three smaller simple eyes which are known as ocelli eyes positioned in the center of the head. Bees do not sleep; they remain still at night to preserve their energy for a busy day of foraging.
More Bee Facts:
- The first Apis bees appear in the fossil records in deposits dating around 35 million years ago in Europe
- The Native American called the honeybee 'the white man's fly.'
- Honeybees were carried by ship to California in the early 1850s
- Honey bees seem to have originated from Southeast Asia. Apis dorsata, also known as the giant honey bee is native to south and southeastern Asia and makes its combs on high tree branches, on cliffs, and sometimes on buildings
- Apis Florea is a dwarf honeybee that makes its small exposed nests in trees and shrubs. The sting of Apis Florea is incapable of penetrating the human skin
- The honeybees have 170 odorant receptors, compared with the fruit flies 62, and 79 in the mosquitoes. Their remarkable sense of smell includes kin recognition signals, social communication within the hive, and odor recognition for finding food; each colony smells different to bees.
- For those of us who are not allergic to bee stings, it would take around 100 stings to be fatal
- Each colony has a distinct odor for member’s identification
- There are 900 cells in a bee's brain
- Bees have pollinated one-third of all the plants we eat
- Bees have been around for more than 30 million years
- There are many different types of honey. Taste varies according to the flower used
- Bees have two separate stomachs, one for food and the other only for nectar
- The average honeybee can fly at a speed of 15 miles per hour
- Bees drop the collected nectar into the honeycomb and evaporate it by fanning their wings to make honey. Once sufficient moisture has been evaporated the bees then cap over the honey
- Bees are busy producing honey in almost every country in the world
- China holds the record for producing the most honey. The Chinese are producing 305,000 metric ton of honey, accounting for 25% of all exported honey in the world, and 20% of the total global production of honey
- The United States has suffered a decrease in its honey production but still maintains the position of the 2nd largest producer behind China
- Utah is known as the Beehive State
- South Dakota, North Dakota, California and Florida are the US biggest honey producing states
Myths & Legends
- In ancient Egypt, during the time of the pharaohs between 3000 BC and 3050 BC the honey bee was the royal symbol
- If a bee were to fly into your home when you are expecting visitors, and you kill it, the guest will bring bad news.
- In some culture, the bee is considered to be associated with purity, since the worker bee that produces the honey never mates.
- When a honeybee returns to the hive after a foraging trip, it sometimes performs a dance. The dance is believed to be a set of movements that reflects in miniature the details of the journey. Nobel Prize winner, Professor Von Frisch study on the bees behaviour, for which he won the Nobel prize, concluded; the honey bees' dance communicate information about the location of a food source to the hive mates. This information, allows them to make use of the same source. However, the Professor's interpretation has been persistently debated.
- Only worker bees have stings if they feel threatened they may sting; and once they sting, the bee dies.
- We rely on these amazing little creatures for a vast amount of the foods we eat, and not only that, but we also depend on them for that glorious amber nectar. For those of you in 'The Land Down Under', no not Foster's, the other amber nectar; the food of the Gods....we're talking Honey.
- So the next time a honey bee buzz by you, take a moment to appreciate truly this little wonder of nature that is the honey bee.