Bee Facts

Alleah

Alleah

04 Aug 2020

bee facts

We use the term “busy bee” for a person that can’t stop working all day long. True to this famous term, bees are industrious and hardworking animals that spend their lifetime working. Depending on the bee type, each has a role to perform in a colony. Beyond their duties in the hive, bees also drive crucial processes in the ecosystem and our food chain. Learn more about why we should save them with these bee facts.

  1. A bee could visit 50 to 100 flowers on a single trip for nectar.
  2. A queen bee can lay 2,500 eggs in a day. 
  3. In its lifetime, a bee will one be able to produce 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
  4. Worker bees have a 6 to 8 week lifespan. 
  5. Beekeeping dates back to 4,500 years ago.
  1. Bees are the only insects that produce edible substances.
  2. A bee’s buzzing comes from its wings that beat at least 200 times a second. 
  3. Bees do not have kneecaps, but they have jointed legs.
  4. Honey bees are Maine’s official insect.
  5. The average American can consume 1.30 pounds of honey yearly.
  6. Honey from bees 25% sweeter than regular sugar. 
  7. Bees can fly for 15 miles per hour. 
  8. Bees have followed the same honey-making process for 150 million years.
  9. Pure honey from bees could be preserved for a long time.
  10. Honey is considered alternative medicine.
  1. Bees need to fly an estimated 55,000 miles for a pound of honey.
  2. Cleopatra used honey from bees in her usual beauty rituals. 
  3. Bees communicate with each other through dancing. 
  4. Around 20,000-60,000 honey bees make up a colony.
  5. Male bees or drones don’t work, with mating as their main role.
Table of Contents

Bee Facts Infographics

Bee Facts Infographics

Bees like coffee.

Just like humans, caffeine keeps these busy bees alert and active. This is why they are drawn to flowers with coffee nectar.

There are 3 kinds of bees with specific roles.

bee facts
Source: Unsplash

A colony’s social hierarchy usually comprises of 3 bee types: workers, drones, and the queen. As the name suggests, all-female worker bees are responsible for labor – from collecting honey to hive work. Meanwhile, drones or male bees do not do anything except copulate with the colony’s queen bee to produce more eggs.

Finally, the queen bees lay eggs, make the hive, and rule all the bees in the colony. Truly one of the most interesting bee facts.

A queen bee does a "mating flight".

The queen bee leaves its hive and copulates with at least 45 drones at a time. All the collected sperm will be stored in the spermatheca, leaving the queen with a lifetime supply of sperm. How’s that for neat bee facts?

Bees don't have the innate nature to make honey.

Although it may seem like second nature to them, bees aren’t born with the instinct to make honey. As such, older bees in the hive must teach them how.

A bee's brain is as small as a sesame seed.

A bee’s oval-shaped brain may be small, but it excels at remembering and learning things.

Queen bees live for a maximum of 5 years.

In a day, the queen bee can lay 2,500 eggs. Queens tend to be busier during the summer, as they need to reinforce the hives for the weather.

Bees do a "waggle dance" when they find the perfect nectar. 

When they find the perfect nectar for the day, bees fly back to their hives and share the information with their fellow bees by dancing. This dance indicates the position of the flower from their hive and the sun. Isn’t that one for adorable bee facts?

Bees are sensitive to smell.

One of the amazing bee facts is that bees have a heightened sense of smell. In total, bees have 170 specialized receptors for odor. This allows them to know which types of flowers have pollen and nectar in them.https://facts.net/nature/human-body/dna-facts

There are 20,000 species of bees.

Bees are insects that come from the family of Apoidaes. Their large family is composed of many bee species, such as honey bees and bumblebees. In terms of genetics, bees are closely related to flies and wasps.

Bees do not sleep.

Even though they rest at night, bees remain conscious 24/7. Definitely one for bee facts you shouldn’t sleep on. 

Bee species have 5 eyes.

Small as they seem, bees have eyes along both sides of their heads. The remaining 3 eyes are located at the top of their head, which gives them the ability to see UV light.

Humans can be killed by 1100 bee stings. 

Bee venom contains proteins that attack skin cells and the immune system, causing pain and swelling for typical cases. However, in large numbers, bee stings could kill a person.

For the average human, 1,100 stings can already prove fatal. Meanwhile, people with allergies can be killed by even fewer stings. Definitely one of the bee facts to consider if you encounter a hive in the wild.

Bee venom could prevent HIV.  

Aside from other proteins, Melittin is found in a bee’s venom. According to research, this substance could potentially be explored as a cure for rheumatoid arthritis and HIV. 

A bee's brain chemistry changes from time to time.  

Bee colonies rely on worker bees for many crucial tasks such as food production to gathering pollen and nectar. As a result, they need to be in their best condition.

Because of this, bees evolved to have a unique brain function. Depending on the task that a worker bee needs to perform, their brain chemistry changes, too.

A bee can remember your face.  

Among their heightened senses, bees can map out a person’s facial characteristics, recognizing which kind souls would leave out nectar for them to come back to. This ability is now being studied for the development of facial recognition software.

The sun helps bees with navigation.  

Since their extra pair of eyes can perceive polarized and UV light, bees also use the sun’s position to locate flowers with possible nectar and pollen. 

Bees see all kinds of colors except the color red.

Bees can see for at least 300 to 650 nanometers. Like most insects, they can see all the colors in the spectrum except the color red. Definitely one for curious bee facts.

Around 1/3 of our food comes from a bee's honey pollination.

As bees collect nectar for honey, they also indirectly pollinate the area, driving the growth of new plants and the overall ecology. In fact, over 80% of the world’s plants have been pollinated by bees. 

To further illustrate, 1 out of every 4 bites of food result from the pollination of bees.

Beekeepers are thriving in the US.  

With its origins dating back to ancient civilizations, beekeeping remains as a crucial industry today. It’s important to support local beekeepers, in order to ensure that bees don’t get exploited and subjected to inhumane methods for their honey.bee facts

Source: Unsplash

Drones cannot sting you with its venom.  

Drones do not have stingers as their main role in mating does not require them to have one. Instead, male honey bees’ only appendages are genitals that explode after mating, while the tip remains inside the female. This tip acts as a stopper for the sperm, so it wouldn’t leak out.

You can order honeybees.

You can get live, buzzing honey bees in a box made of mesh and wood.  Once received, bees can continue with their hive making. However, it’s important to know the basics and essentials of beekeeping so you wouldn’t end up hurting yourself or the bees.

Bees die when they sting humans.

Typically, bees sting as a defense mechanism against other insects invading their hive. However, bees will meet an untimely death once they sting humans. Unlike insects’ exoskeletons, human skin traps their stinger, eventually tearing it from the bee’s body and killing them.

Female or worker bees live for only 5 weeks.  

Female bees work until the very last day of their short lives. They gather nectar and pollen, continuing labor at the hive even a few hours before they die. You can only guess where the phrase “busy bee” comes from. 

Queen bees eat special food.  

Aside from honey, worker bees produce a substance called “royal jelly.” As the name suggests, only the queen bee and larvae can eat it. It is also this jelly that activates the queen morphology in larvae, eventually determining which bee would grow to be the next queen.

A colony of bees could have one or more queen bees.  

In some cases, a new queen develops while the old queen is still alive. Under these circumstances, two queens can rule the colony until the first queen bee dies.

bee facts
Source: Pixabay

The biggest bee species are bumblebees.

Bumblebees grow 4 times bigger than regular bees in the US.  They are usually found in South America at a noticeable size of 1.6 inches.

Bees have an extra stomach. 

One of the more interesting bee facts is that bees have 2 stomachs. The first one digests food, while the other stores nectar and water storage. Without the extra stomach, the transportation of honey will not be possible.

There are 2 trillion bees to date.

According to the recent data, the estimated number of 2 trillion comes from the existing colonies and hives. Sadly, this number has experienced a decreasing trend due to many factors.

Bees are facing many threats. 

Parasites, climate change, and pesticides are just some of the common reasons why the bee population has slowly declined through the years. Without proper action, honey production and the overall balance of the ecosystem could be threatened as well.

Bumblebees eat all the time.  

One of the fun bee facts is that bumblebees get hungry very easily. As the biggest bee species, bumblebees have to feed often to keep their work going. 

Bees play an important part in crop and plant production.

One of the known bee facts is that bees pollinate flowers, vegetables, and fruits. This process allows plants to grow as they transfer a pollen’s female and male parts, allowing it to make seeds and bear fruit.

The honey that bees store is for winter.  

Worker bees vigorously collect and store honey for the cold winter days. Luckily for us, they are very hardworking insects, so they produce more than what they need in the winter. This excess honey is then cultivated and sold for consumption. 

You can plant flowers to support bees. 

You can help bees thrive by planting nectar-rich flowers such as bluebells and lavenders.

flower, bee facts
Source: Unsplash

Drones die after mating.

During a queen bee’s mating flight, drones have the opportunity to mate for 7-10 rounds. After it exceeds this point, the drone’s abdomen rips apart, killing it instantly.

Honey from bees symbolize of love.

The ancient Romans and Greeks viewed honey as a symbol of love. According to mythology, Cupid realized the value of passion without worrying about death or consequences after getting stung by a bee.

Hive fences are used in fields.

Native groups in Africa use bee fences to keep elephants from entering their fields and destroying their crops. The hives are placed around the area to protect the fields. These hive fences act as a humane alternative to wired or electronic fences.

Apollo was the first beekeeper, according to Greek mythology.

Apollo is a god in Greek mythology who was raised by bee colonies and lived on honey alone. Because of this, he was considered the first-ever beekeeper in written history.

Bees were believed to come from an animal carcass.

From the ancient until the pre-modern times, people believed that bees came from bugonia or animal carcass.

Napoleon chose the bee as its status emblem.  

Due to the bee’s nature of toil and dedication to serving the queen, the bee represented the Napoleonic heraldry as its emblem. Generally, bees symbolize hard work, orderliness, diligence, and industriousness.

Bees can locate land mines.

In Croatia, bees are trained to locate hidden mines. Known to have excellent olfactory nerves, bees detect smells of any kind very easily. They are trained to identify the scent of explosives as food so that land mines could be traced. How’s that for hardcore bee facts?

Beehives are immortal.

During the winter, bees enter a state of inactivity called torpor. However, they always awaken in time for spring. Bee types may come and go, but the hive remains strong as long as it’s not destroyed by external factors.

Carpenter bees don't sting.

Unlike bumblebees and honey bees, carpenter bees are not aggressive. They may have a stinger, but they only use it when they are handled or disrupted from what they are doing.

Bees have 3 leg pairs.

These pairs of legs are found in the bee’s middle, back, and front, composed of 6 sections. All of these leg parts help them produce and pollinate honey.

Bumblebees build their nests underground.

This type of bee lays its hive or nests in holes made by other large animals. Bumblebees also typically inhabit unoccupied birdhouses and compost piles.

Killer bees have less venom.

Though its name might suggest otherwise, killer bees have significantly less venom than the average bee. Smaller than honeybees and bumblebees, they carry less venom. However, killer bees stand out for producing an excellent variety of honey.

Carpenter bees are the only bee species that pollinate.

Carpenter bees have shorter mandibles, which makes them important pollinators for sallow and open-faced flowers. Among all the bee species, carpenter bees alone can pick up and transport pollen from flowers. Definitely one for bee facts to remember.

A vinegar solution will kill bees fast. 

Carpenter bees live in woods and holes. If a bee infestation turns severe, you can mix equal parts of vinegar and water into a spray bottle and apply it to areas where bees are usually seen. 

Bees have rotated and twisted wings.

Unlike other insects, bees don’t have rigid wings. In flight, bees make short but quick sweeping movements with their wings. Due to their wider range of motion, bees have been observed flying backwards or hovering for brief moments.

bee facts
Source: Pixabay

The bees in Minecraft can help you understand their real-life roles.

In the Minecraft mob, bees are neutral and would not attack unless you attack their nests. Just like the real-life traits of bees, Minecraft bees also drive food production by being resourceful in gathering pollen while helping with your crops.

Beeswax comes from a worker bee's abdomen.

Honey bees produce this natural wax which forms into scales from their abdominal segments. Honey bees secrete this wax from their abdominal glands, with the wax either discarded during the work day or used to reinforce their hives.

The founder of Burt's Bees started by selling honey.

Burt’s Bees is a well known American brand for personal care products. Its founder, Burt Shavitz, started the business by selling honey in gallons to locals, marking his hives with his name to prevent others from stealing them. Through the years, the business expanded and branched out to offer products for beauty and health. Treat yourself to their anti-aging oil and revitalize your face here

A sweat bee's sting is not harmful. 

Sweat bees make up the second-largest kind of bees from the family of Apoidea. They have a metallic-like appearance. Although they can sting people, their venom is not that harmful compared to other bee species.

Mason bees use mud for nest-building.  

Mason bees come from the Megachilidae family of bees. Their name was coined after their habit of nest-making in rocks and mud.  These bees typically make nests between cracks and gaps of stones or dark cavities.

You can tame Minecraft bees with flowers.

In Minecraft, you can tame bees or encourage them to follow by holding a flower. Any kind of flower breeding will do. Simply equip the flower and hand it over to the nearest bee.

You can cover holes to get rid of ground bees.

One of the interesting bee facts is that bee species have different strategies on where they place their hives. Ground bees usually stay in ground holes for at least 4-6 weeks.

If you would like to remove them without harmful pesticides and without killing them, just close the holes to force them to evacuate.

Varnish or paint exposed wood to keep wood bees away.  

Since wood bees prefer unfinished or weathered wood, coating it with paint or varnish can help them steer clear. 

Baby powder keeps sweat bees away.  

Like the name suggests, these bees are drawn to the smell of sweat, so it’s best to always sprinkle a good amount of organic baby powder in exposed areas.

During winter, bees huddle together for survival.  

Bees do not have adjustable thermostats or thick skin to help them stay warm during cold winter days. They stay warm in their hives by sticking close to each other in a formation called a winter cluster.

bee facts
Source: Pixabay

Crushed garlic solution is a natural bee repellent.  

The smell of garlic discourages bees from coming near your house or your plants. Chop or crush a whole clove of garlic and soak it with water for at least 4-5 days. You can then use the mixture as a bee repellent when needed. Garlic powder also works as a hassle-free alternative, which you can get here.

Bees hate peppermint.  

Bees may be attracted to plants and flowers, but they specifically hate anything that has peppermint in it, which they can smell from a mile away. If you would like to keep bees away, it’s best to put peppermint plants around or outside your house.

Constantly move hummingbird feeders to keep bees away. 

Your feeders intended for hummingbirds may get feasted on by insects like bees instead. To prevent this, move your feeders constantly within 3-4 feet each time, so that bees will lose track of it. Your birds will still find them, but it’s likely that the bees won’t.  

Honey color depends on the flower that bees got it from.  

The flavor and color of honey depends on what flower it was taken from. The color would range from dark brown to an almost colorless shade. The darker the honey, the stronger it is.

bee facts
Source: Pixabay

The first beer was made from honeycomb and water. 

Bees collect honey not only for their food, but also for human consumption. In the Anglo-Saxons period, the first beer was a mixture of water, herbs, and honeycomb. 

Greater Honeyguides are used to track beehives.

In the African continent, a bird species called Greater Honeyguides track beehives found in the wild. The birds benefit by digging into the larvae-filled comb while humans claim the honey.

A queen bee could survive a sting.  

While worker bees die after stinging humans, a queen bee could survive as they have smooth stingers that they can easily pull out.

Queen bees fight for the throne. 

A queen bee that is newly hatched will sting her rivals that are still unhatched. When two queen bees are hatched at the same time, they will fight each other to death for the role. How’s that for dark bee facts?

Bees are called "white man's fly".

One of the least known bee facts is that honey bees are not native to America. Honey bees only reached America in the year 1622, brought by European colonists. 

Bees helped save America.  

According to George Washington, bees helped save America in the “Battle of the Bees” during the American Revolution. In this particular incident, loyalists ransacked a local farm while locals hid.

During the raid, the loyalists stumbled on beehives, which provoked the bees and caused them to attack. This distraction allowed the locals to fight and kill the loyalist leader and 8 other members.

Bee colonies have a unique scent.  

For bee members to identify which bees belong to their colony, they give off a specific smell. It’s also through this scent that bees can identify invaders.

Baby bees stick out their tongue to ask for food.  

For newborn babies to survive, worker bees give them food whenever they see them sticking out their tongues or probosces.

Bees have tongues that resemble a straw.

Bees have long, straw-like tongues called probosces. They use these tongues to siphon out nectar from flowers.

Honey is technically bee vomit.

After sucking a flower’s nectar, it goes directly to the bee’s second stomach. To make honey, they regurgitate their stomach’s contents into cells of honeycomb, fanning it using their wings. Isn’t that one for bee facts you wish you didn’t know?

A bee's honeycomb does not only store honey.

Apart from storing honey, bees also use honeycomb cells to store nectar, water, and pollen. These little pods can even function as a makeshift nursery for bee larvae.

bee facts
Source: Unsplash

You can use pure honey from bees to clean wounds.  

Concentrated honey produced by bees has high levels of antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties. This makes it perfect for sanitizing and speeding up the healing of wounds.

The bee population outnumbers London residents during summer.  

A bee’s life cycle peaks at full bloom in the summer.  Due to the rise of urban beekeeping, it has been said that bees outnumber London residents with a ratio of 30:1 during summer.

Bees react to dark colors.

Beekeepers use the white suit as it has less of an effect on bees. Since their eyes perceive it more, bees are more likely to attack dark colors.

Swarming happens when bees outgrow their hives.  

Just like humans, bees will also separate from their “mother hive” and look for new, smaller hives to prevent overcrowding due to scarcity of resources.

Undertaker bees remove dead bees found in the hive.

When a bee dies in the hive, worker bees will assign some of their workforce as undertaker bees to remove the dead.

A switch in bee roles can stop their brain from aging. 

Study shows that when aging honey bees switch social roles with young honey bees, they keep their learning intact, keeping their brain from deteriorating. It is now being studied in relation to the human brain process and how it could potentially help reverse cognitive impairments. This is definitely one of many amazing bee facts.

When bees pollinate fruits and plants, their yield may increase over tenfold.

When bees pollinate avocados, cucumbers, and blueberries, the regular plant yield may likely increase to at least 350% more.

farm, woman, blueberry, bee facts
Source: Pixabay

A bee's honeycomb is a perfect hexagon.

Bees are no mediocre insects as their hexagonal honeycombs each have a perfect angle of 120° – no more, no less.

Archeologists found a bee fossil from 100 million years ago.

Of all bees, the Milittosphex Burmensi is the oldest known species. With its fossil trapped in amber, archaeologists estimate that it dates back to 100 million years ago.

There are an estimated 125,000 beekeepers in the US.

Most of the beekeepers in the US are hobbyists coming from North and South Dakota, California, Montana, and Florida. It only makes sense that these states have the highest production of honey in the country.

Bees also have feelings.  

In a beehive colony, there are pessimistic and optimistic bees. Studies show that just like humans, optimistic bees work themselves to death while those on the pessimistic side tend to slack off. It’s one of the bee facts that are truly mind blowing.

Cocaine makes honey bees exaggerated liars. 

Bees that come across cocaine get high, too. When they do, their dance exaggerates a flower or plant’s quality, misleading their fellow worker bees. They even experience withdrawal symptoms. Still not any news on when the bee version of Breaking Bad will come out, though. 

Bees can solve basic math.

Among animals and insects, bees are the biggest math whizzes. They can solve distance and shortest routes between the flowers they visit. And no, they do not need computers and calculators. They can solve it in a snap. 

Studies have also shown that bees can identify and count up to four, and also recognize the concept of zero. For an experiment, bees were trained to choose which sample has “more” or “less.” Eventually, they exhibited an 80% success rate.

Bees work like serial killers.

In most cases, serial killers do their crimes near their place but away enough for peers to not get suspicious. Bees are the same way, too. They collect pollen that is not too far nor too near their hives so that predators cannot trace them.

Bees are neat freaks.

Bees keep their hives spotless by making sure that no one defecates inside the hive other than the queen bee. When nature calls for the queen to do her thing, an assigned worker bee cleans up their mess right away.

You can add more colors to your garden to attract bees.

Bees love bright colors! They will often visit your garden if you have plants and flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen.

Beekeepers do not take all the honey.

Local beekeepers respect bees, only taking what the bees don’t need. On average, each beehive rears around 45-50 kg of excess honey.

You can save a bee by making them a drink.

Bees rest motionless for a very long time when tired, entering a state of torpor. This acts as their way to recover from a miscalculated journey from the flower to their hive. You can help them get back on their feet by mixing equal parts of sugar and water (1 tbsp each) and leaving it near the bee.

Bees can smell fear.

Bees can identify the scent of fear from humans. When they do, they tend to attack as they anticipate that their hive will be disturbed.

Beekeepers use smoke to calm bees down.

When beekeepers harvest honey or relocate the hive, they smoke the bees. The smoke subdues the bees, letting the beekeepers do their work.

 

bee facts
Source: Unsplash

A bee can chase you for a quarter of a mile.

When they get aggressive and excited, a swarm of bees could chase you and sting you simultaneously. They’re quite the athletes too, not letting up for over 400 meters. Definitely one of the bee facts to remember if you plan on disturbing a hive anytime soon.

Carpenter bees do not live in colonies.

Carpenter bees are a solitary species, with their nests for their young and themselves alone. Unlike honey bees, carpenter bees can sting humans many times without dying, as they have smooth stings.

It's hard to remove a honey bee colony.

Honey bees usually place their hives in tree crevices, chimneys, or attics. When they stay there for a few weeks, regular smoke or homemade solutions won’t make them leave. In these cases, you should never attempt to remove them yourself. Instead, call for professionals in pest management.

You cannot hide from Africanized bees.

Don’t hide in the water when chased by these bees – they’ll just wait for you to come up. Instead, go for places with zigzag patterns or take shelter in cars or houses.

There's a bee disorder called "Colony Collapse".

Many bees die out in their hives or leave altogether without ever returning. As a result, their colonies collapse. Until now, there is still no explanation as to why this happens. In some regions where bees thrive, at least 90% of the bee population has already disappeared. This is one of the saddest bee facts on this list.

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