Most people don’t ever think about bees until they see or hear them buzzing about the flowers and plants in and around their homes. However, these little creatures are actually massively important to our ecosystem and are responsible for pollinating billions of dollars’ worth of crops every single year. There is probably lot you don’t realize about these important little insects. Here are some interesting facts:
- One honeybee produces around a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey over its entire life.
- A pound of bees (in weight) contains approximately 4,000 bees. Each bee weighs around 0.00025 pounds. A colony of bees containing around 50,000 bees would weigh approximately 12 pounds.
- One bee colony can forage across 18,000 acres. Bees fly up to 12 miles per hour, beating their wings around 200 times every second. On each foraging trip, a single bee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers gathering nectar and pollen.
- A colony of honeybees is made up of different types of bees. There is only one queen bee. The queen bee mates with an average of 13 drones (male bees), during what is known as her mating flight. Some queen bees will mate with up to 45 bees. This is the only time she mates, and it provides her with enough sperm to fertilize eggs as necessary during her entire lifetime. She can lay up to 2,000 eggs every single day, which equates to around a million eggs during her lifetime.
- Drones only leave the hive to mate with the queen. Once they do, they will die off. The other caste of bee in the hive is known as the worker bees, all of which are female. Worker bees are responsible for all other jobs in the hive, from feeding and taking care of the queen and the brood to making honey. It is also the job of the worker bees to leave the hive and forage for nectar and pollen.
- Bees have a very powerful sense of smell, having 170 odorant receptors. They use these receptors to communicate with each other and to find the right type of flower when foraging for nectar and pollen.
- Most worker bees will live for a period of five to six weeks only. Winter bees live for up to six months, but it is their job to ensure the survival of the colony during the colder months. As cold-blooded creatures, bees must regulate the temperature within the hive by huddling together and beating their wings. The queen bee will be at the center of the huddle as it is vital that she survives.
- Honeybees create honeycomb in a hexagonal shape in which they will store honey. This shape is considered to be the most efficient in terms of ensuring no wasted space. The structure of honeycomb is capable of holding a lot of weight.
- Bees are in decline all over the world. This is mainly due to the habits of humans who: have developed land for commercial and residential use, thus robbing the bee of its natural habitat; use pesticides on crops that can severely weaken a hive; contribute to climate change.
Saving the Bees
Bees are remarkably interesting creatures that most of us do not realize how much the world depends on them for the survival. It is important that we all do more to protect bees. Project Honey Bees are doing their bit by selling stylish bee earrings from which they are donating money from each sale to bee conservation. You can also make small changes at home, such as eating more organic produce that is pesticide free.