25 Honey Bee Facts
As we have previously mentioned, honey bees are incredible creatures that play a vital role in our ecosystem. They are fascinating, and even though they have been around for millions of years, they are still relatively misunderstood.
At Sweetbriar Rose, we love all things bees. And, we want everyone to know more about these flying insects. Stop by and see if you notice any of our bees flying around.
Here are some fun honey bee facts.
Honey Bee Facts
1. There is evidence the honey bee has been alive for more than a million years.
2. Honey bees are known scientifically as Apris mellifera. This Latin term means “honey-carrying bee.”
3. Bees are friends of the environment. They are essential as they are pollinators and are responsible for the survival of many species of plants.
4. Bees are the only insects that produce anything that humans eat.
5. Honey naturally has everything you need to survive and is the only thing food that can do this. Honey has enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water.
6. Honey also has pinocembrin in it, which is an antioxidant that has been shown to help improve brain functioning.
7. Honey bees have complex bodies. With six legs, two eyes comprised of thousands of small lenses, three simple eyes on top of their head, two different pairs of wings, a pouch for nectar and a stomach, a lot is going on with these little creatures.
8. Honey bees are exceptional at finding food sources. There are 170 odor receptors on their body, as compared to less than 80 in both fruit flies and mosquitoes. They are able to recognize signals from kin, communicate in the hive, and find food. They can tell the difference in hundreds of different varieties of flowers and how far the nectar or pollen was carried!
9. A honey bee beats their wings about 200 times every second. This constant stroking is what makes the buzzing sound you hear when they fly.
10. Honey bees can fly as far as six miles at a speed of 15 miles per hour.
11. If you want to appreciate the value of honey… a single worker bee will only make about 1/12th teaspoon of honey throughout her life.
12. A hive will have to fly around 90,000 miles to get a single kilogram of honey. This distance would take them around the earth three times!
13. On a single trip to collect pollen and nectar, a honey bee will stop at anywhere from 50 up to 100 flowers.
14. A honey bee has a tiny brain, but it is powerful nonetheless. It is only about the size of a sesame seed, but it can process complex information, remember locations and distances, and communicate with its hive.
15. A single honey bee hive will have between 20,000 and 60,000 honey bees with a single queen. Worker bees are entirely female and live for six weeks, generally. Worker bees are responsible for all of the work.
16. A queen bee, on the other hand, can live for five years. Their purpose is to lay all of the eggs. In the warmer months during summer, the hive needs larger numbers, so the queen stays busy laying up to 2,500 eggs a day.
17. A queen bee is able to determine the gender of the future bee from each egg. If she uses stored sperm the bee will be a female. However, if she does not fertilize the egg, the bee will become a male.
18. A male bee is called a drone. The drones are larger than the female worker bees and do not have a stinger. Their only job in the hive is to mate. In times of scarce food, like in cold months, the worker bees exile the males out of the colony.
19. Each colony of honey bees has a distinct smell that members can identify.
20. It is true that after a honey bee stings you, they will die. Only female worker bees have stingers, and they typically only sting when they feel threatened. A queen honey bee does have a stinger, but she does not leave the hive.
21. In winter months when the weather is cold, and food is scarce, a hive of honey bees will cluster together to keep warm. Their food is the stored honey.
22. Honey bees communicate with the honey bee dance, a series of extremely particular movements that tell other bees where to find food.
23. When a queen dies, or when the hive decides a new queen is necessary, worker bees can create a new queen. A larva, which is a just hatched bee, is fed a unique food called royal jelly. This exceptional food allows the larva to become a fertile queen.
24. Over the last 15 years, we have seen colonies of bees disappearing. This phenomenon is known as “colony collapse disorder,” and scientists don’t know why. Billions of honey bees will leave their hive and not come back. Worldwide, bees are declining.
25. If you love honey and want to help save the bees, there are things you can do! Do some research about plants in your area that will help the bee population. Flowers rich in nectar, like lavender, are great options. Buying local honey is another great step in saving the honey bee.
Stop by Sweetbriar Rose
At Sweetbriar Rose, we love our honey bees and love sharing honey bee facts. Two of our owners, Mark and Ann, have been beekeeping for years. Our society depends on the work of honey bees. We have hives on the property. If you spend some time enjoying a beer or glass of wine on the back porch, chances are you will hear that tell-tale buzz and see one of our honey bees flying around.
We have a program called, “Adopt a Bee.” If you want to be a honey helper and adopt a bee, you can name your bee, and we will display it for everyone that visits to see. All proceeds go to supporting local bees.
We would love to see you at Sweetbriar Rose any Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. We serve wine and beer by the flight or glass, as well as fresh-baked bread and pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. Stop in and enjoy an afternoon on our covered patio!