Some Sweet Facts about Honey Bees

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The phrase “busy as a bee” denotes someone who seemingly has an inexhaustible supply of energy. Before you compare the biggest workaholic you know to a bee, you should probably take a moment and consider just how busy those little winged workers truly are.

  • A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
  • One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year.
  • An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • It takes 35 pounds of honey to provide enough energy for a small colony of bees to survive the winter.
  • At the peak of the honey-gathering season, a strong, healthy hive will have a population of approximately 50,000 bees.
  • It would take approximately 1 ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
  • The true honey bee was not known in the Americas until Spanish, Dutch, and English settlers introduced it near the end of the 17th century.
  • The honey bee’s wings stroke 11,400 times per minute.
  • A bee flies at a rate of about 12 miles per hour.
  • A bee has five eyes.
  • The queen bee is the busiest in the summer months when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength. She will lay about 1,000 to 1,500 eggs per day.
  • Honey bees do not die out over the winter. They feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months and patiently wait for spring. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.
  • Queens are not only kept warm through cuddling, but they are also killed that way.
  • Honey bee colonies have unique odors that members flash like identification cards at the hive’s front door. All the individual bees in a colony smell enough alike so that the guard bees can identify them.
  • The honey bee is not born knowing how to make honey; the younger bees are taught by the more experienced ones.
  • Some worker bees are nurse bees. Their job is to feed the larvae.
  • A Cornell University paper released in 2000 concluded that the direct value of honeybee pollination to U.S. agriculture is $14.6 billion annually.
  • We should appreciate honeybees for their honey and pollination services. 80% of the pollination of the fruits, vegetables and seed crops in the U.S. is accomplished by honey bees.
  • The United States has an estimated 211,600 beekeepers.
  • The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
  • They are insects which are scientifically known as Apis mellifera.
  • Worker honey bees are female, live 6 to 8 weeks and do all the work.
  • The queen bee lives for about 2-3 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength and lays up to 2,500 eggs per day.
  • The male honey bees are called drones, and they do no work at all, have no stinger, all they do is mating.
  • Only worker bees sting, and only if they feel threatened and they die once they sting.
  • Queens have a stinger but don’t leave the hive to help defend it.
  • It is estimated that 1,100 honey bee stings are required to be fatal to a human.

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