160 Fun Facts About Bees

Facts About Bees: Bees are a type of flying insect that resembles wasps and ants. They are classified in the series Anthophila. Pollination and honey production are the main reasons for the popularity of this species. There are 20,000 items in this category. Seven to nine families are considered to belong to this category. In fact, there are many more items in this category. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

These are organisms that have evolved through the ability to collect food from honey-producing plants. They feed on honey and pollen (parasites). Honey provides energy and parasites provide protein. Pollen feeds mainly on larvae.

The smallest member of this genus is the triangular bee, the non- stinging bee. The largest is the megacale Pluto. It is a leaf-cutting type of fly.

The most famous member of this genus is the European bee. The reason for its popularity is its use in honey production. Some other species of bees also produce honey.T hey are eaten by some species of birds such as the hedgehog.

160 Fun Facts About Bees

160 Interesting Facts About Bees

  • Only drones are male.
  • Bees are sold by the pound.
  • Honey bees have hairy eyes!
  • Bees are attracted by caffeine.
  • Only female bees have stingers.
  • Bee on Coffee Flower Geraldine Wright
  • Drones die after mating with a queen.
  • Honey is 25% sweeter than table sugar.
  • The top-bar hive originated in Africa.
  • A wild honey bee nest in a tree trunk.
  • Napoleanic Heraldry Coat of Arms Honey Bees
  • The honey bee is the official insect of Maine.
  • Bees have existed for around 30 million years.
  • Honey is composed of 80% sugars and 20% water.
  • Honey bees did not spread to Alaska until 1927.
  • Bees can be trained to locate buried land mines.
  • images of a Honey bee snoozing showing 4 phases.
  • The science of beekeeping is called “apiculture”.
  • The ancient Greeks minted coins with bees on them.
  • Honeycombs are hexagon-shaped cells made of beeswax.
  • In ancient Egypt, people paid their taxes with honey.
  • Bees have 5 eyes – 3 simple eyes, and 2 compound eyes.
  • Beekeeping is said to be the second oldest professions.
  • Bees have 4 life stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult.
  • Honey bees can be trained to detect illnesses in humans.
  • The practice of beekeeping dates back at least 4,500 years
  • While bears do enjoy honey, they prefer to eat bee larvae.
  • A typical honey bee colony may have around 50,000 workers.
  • The queen honey bee is about twice the length of a worker.

Facts About Bees for Kids

  • Honey bees are the only type of bee that dies after stinging.
  • Honey is the only known source of the antioxidant pinocembrin.
  • On average, Americans consume 1.31 pounds of honey every year.
  • A hive will collect approximately 66 pounds of pollen per year.
  • Honey made from rhododendron is poisonous, though rarely fatal.
  • The name ‘Melissa’ is derived from the Greek word for honey bee.
  • Primitive hives were made from earthenware, mud, or hollow logs.
  • Bees were a very popular animal to include in Napoleonic heraldry.
  • In Greek mythology, Apollo is credited as being the first beekeeper.
  • Honey bees are the only insect that produces food consumed by humans.
  • Every species of bee performs their communication dances differently.
  • Honey is loved by fictional characters Yogi bear and Winnie the Pooh.
  • The Magna Carta legalized the harvesting of wild honey by common folk.
  • In order to make a pound of honey, a hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles
  • Male honey bees (drones) have no father, but they do have a grandfather!
  • Honey bees use their front feet, tongue, jaw and antennae to taste with!
  • There are estimated to be nearly 212,000 beekeepers in the United States.
  • To keep warm in winter, honey bees huddle together in a 'winter cluster'.
  • The darker the honey, the greater amount of antioxidant properties it has.
  • Humans sometimes use the Greater Honeyguide to find bee hives in the wild.
  • While a worker bee will die after it stings, a queen can survive stinging.
  • For every pound of honey produced, a hive must collect 10 pounds of pollen.
  • Scientists have studied honey bees, and have learned that honey bees sleep.
  • Honey has antibacterial properties and can be used as a dressing for wounds.
  • A single hive can produce anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds of honey every year.

Unbelievable Facts About Bees

  • There are three types of bees in every hive: a queen, worker bees, and drones.
  • In 1984, honeybees on a space shuttle constructed a honeycomb in zero gravity.
  • Newborn bees ask for food by sticking out their tongues at passing worker bees.
  • Ever wondered whether honey bees poop? Yes they do - read about honey bee poop.
  • Bees communicate in 2 ways: the waggle dance, and through the use of pheromones.
  • Approximately one third of the food we eat is the result of honey bee pollination
  • A single bee will produce only about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • Bees have their own “facial recognition software,” and can recognize human faces.
  • Honey bees beat their wings 200 times per second, creating their trademark “buzz”.
  • Honey bees, along with other bee species, are believed to be descendants of wasps.
  • Mead, which is made from fermented honey, is the world’s oldest fermented beverage.
  • Honey was found in King Tut’s tomb, and, because it never spoils, it was still good!
  • Every bee colony has its own distinct scent so that members can identify each other.
  • A single ounce of honey could fuel a honey bee’s flight all the way around the world.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans viewed honey as a symbol of love, beauty, and fertility.
  • A worker bee can carry a load of nectar or pollen equal to 80% of her own body weight.
  • Hives produce 5 distinct substances: honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly.
  • During a single collection trip, a honey bee will visit anywhere from 50 to 100 flowers.
  • Honey is the only foodstuff that contains all of the necessary nutrients to sustain life.
  • The females do all of the work in the hive. The drones’ only job is to mate with a queen.
  • The top honey producing states are North Dakota, California, and South Dakota as of 2016.
  • Bees use the sun as a compass, and on cloudy days, use polarized light to find their way.
  • Ancient peoples used to believe that bees were created from the carcasses of dead animals.
  • The first Anglo-Saxons drank beer made from water and honeycomb, with herbs for flavoring.
  • Bes have 2 stomachs – one for eating, and one for storing nectar.

Amazing Facts About Bees

  • Honey bees usually travel about 3 miles away from the hive in search of nectar and pollen.
  • The honey bee is one of the most scientifically studied creatures in the world after man! 
  • Bees create wax in a special gland on their stomach, which they then chew to form honeycomb.
  • A honey bee queen may lay as many as 2000 - 3000 eggs per day as she establishes her colony.
  • Due to colony collapse disorder, bees have been dying off at a rate of approximately 30% per year.
  • Bee venom is used as a treatment for several ailments, including arthritis and high blood pressure.
  • Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, and have a sense of smell 50 times more powerful than a dog.
  • Ever wonder why a beekeeper’s suit is always white? It’s because bees react strongly to dark colors!
  • Honey bees have been around longer than humans – there is fossil evidence from 150 million years ago!
  • Honey bees are not born knowing how to make honey. Instead, they are taught in the hive by older bees.
  • Beeswax is found in many of our everyday products, including furniture polishes, cosmetics, and medicines.
  • Bees have long, straw-like tongues called a proboscis which they use to suck liquid nectar out of flowers.
  • If the queen honey bee is removed from the hive, within 15 minutes, the rest of the colony knows about it!
  • Bees make honey by regurgitating digested nectar into honeycomb cells and then fanning it with their wings.
  • Though bees have jointed legs, they do not possess anything like a kneecap, and therefore do not have knees.
  • Royal beekeeper to King Charles II of England said: "The bee is a excquisite chemist". Read more bee quotes.
  • Honey bees belong to the insect order 'Hymenoptera' which they share with other bees, wasps, ants and sawflies.
  • Honey bee activity is dependent on temperature, rather than the seasons as is the case with other bee species.

100 Fun Facts About Bees

  • Worker bees have barbed stingers, while a queen has a smooth stinger, which she mostly uses to kill other queens.
  • Some worker bees have the job of being an “undertaker bee” and are in charge of removing dead bees from the hive.
  • The perfect hexagons that form honeycomb hold the most amount of honey with the smallest amount of material (wax).
  • Scent is important for bees. A study has found that bees are better at learning new odours (smells) in the morning.
  • The hexagon structure of honeycombs enables bees to make super efficient use of beeswax, and guards against wastage!
  • Honey bees don’t sleep. Instead, they spend their nights motionless, conserving energy for the next day’s activities.
  • Up until the mid-1700’s in England, it was common practice to kill all of the bees in a hive during honey collection.
  • In their 6-8 week lifespan, a worker bee will fly the equivalent distance of 1 ½ times the circumference of the Earth.
  • Bees use propolis, a sticky substance gathered from the buds of trees, to fill in cracks and weatherproof their hives.
  • During the winter, worker bees will take short “cleansing flights” in order to defecate and remove debris from the hive.
  • Swarming occurs when a colony has outgrown its current hive and is preparing to separate into 2 or more new, smaller hives.
  • The bee was a symbol of immorality and resurrection. It was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France.
  • Below is a photograph - image D on the far right shows the bee snoozing, with antennae drooping and abdomen touching the floor.
  • In Wisconsin, beekeepers can apply to have their honey certified as pure and use “Wisconsin certified honey” on their packaging.
  • The antennae on honey bees are very sensitive and important for tasting things. The tips of the antennae have more than 300 taste sensors!
  • As with other types of bees, honey bees have 5 eyes: 3 simple eyes on top of its head, and 2 compound eyes, with numerous hexagonal facets.
  • No wonder honey bees need a lot of energy. Honey bees fly up to 15 mph and beat their wings 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute!

Cool Facts About Bees

  • Honey bees communicate through pheromones passed on through feeding. This is called ‘trophallaxis’. Learn more about honey bee communication.
  • Due to the rise in popularity of urban beekeeping, it is estimated that honey bees outnumber the residents of London 30-1 in the summer months.
  • The 'Waggle Dance' or 'honey bee dance' enables worker honey bees to inform her sisters about great locations of food and water, or a new home.
  • There are people in Africa that keep elephants out of their fields by keeping honey bee hives around the fields in what is called a “bee fence.”
  • Honeycomb cells have many uses other than storing honey. They are also used to store nectar, pollen, and water, as well as a nursery for larvae!
  • The European honey bee was brought over to North America by the Shakers. Because of this, Native Americans referred to honey bees as the “White Man’s Fly”.
  • A single honeybee brain has a million neurons compared with 100 billion in a human. But, researchers report, bees can recognize faces. From the New York Times.
  • The word “honeymoon” is derived from the ancient tradition of supplying a newlywed couple with a month’s supply of mead in order to ensure happiness and fertility.
  • During the winter, some worker bees take on the job of “heater bees,” where they vibrate their bodies in order to keep the hive at the optimal temperature of 95ºF.
  • Ounce for ounce, honey bee venom is more deadly than cobra venom. Don’t worry, though – it takes 19 stings for every kilogram of a person’s body weight to be lethal.
  • During the American Revolution, George Washington said “It was the cackling geese that saved Rome, but it was the bees that saved America.” Read the full story here.

Weird Facts About Bees

  • The queen bee (and only the queen) eats royal jelly for the duration of her life. This milky substance is produced in a special gland located in a worker bee’s head.
  • In the Hittite Empire (modern-day Turkey and Syria), a swarm’s value was equal to that of a sheep, and the penalty for bee thieving was a fine of 6 shekels of silver.
  • Honey can be fermented to make a type of wine, called ‘mead’. The earliest evidence for the production of mead is from Northern China, and dates to back to about 7000 BC.
  • Stone Age cave paintings have been found of ancient beekeepers. The oldest known art depicting honey gathering can be found in the Cave of the Spider near Valencia, Spain.
  • In the United States, more than 300 different kinds of honey are produced every year. The variety in color and flavor is determined by the types of flowers from which the bees collect nectar.
  • The honey bee is also known as Apis mellifera. Apis is a very old word probably with Egyptian roots, but is also related to the Greek word for 'swarm'. Mellifera means 'honey-bearing' in Latin.
  • Humans have been seeking out bees for honey for a long time! Mesolithic rock-paintings in caves near Valencia, Spain, show honey hunters at work. These paintings are believed to date back 6,000 years.
  • Honey bees eat nectar and pollen, but there are times when food is scarce, and they may eat insect secretions. They are also known to eat a little fruit, such as plums and grapes. See what do bees eat.
  • In 1791, during the French Revolution, the government demanded a record of all bee hives. Honey was used as a source of tax revenue. Many beekeepers who did not wish to pay more tax, destroyed their hives.
  • Honey bees may typically fly between 1 – 6 km on a foraging trip, but also up to 13.5 km (I have seen it stated that 20 km has also been recorded, but have not located the research paper to check this finding).
  • The earliest form of chemical warfare probably dates back to Turkey in 65 BC, and honey bees had a role in it, by producing toxic honey (or 'mad honey') after foraging on a certain plant. Read about toxic honey.

Crazy Facts About Bees

  • Only female honey bees can sting, the males (drones) are not able to sting, but if you are stung it will probably be by a worker. Queen honey bees can sting, but they remain close to the hive, and so a sting from a honey bee queen would be very rare.
  • When the fictional character, Sherlock Holmes retired to the Sussex Downs in England, where he became a beekeeper. There is even a group called "The Retired Beekeepers" in England who are actually an international group of Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts.
  • A queen goes on what is called a “mating flight” where she leaves the hive and mates with anywhere from 5 to 45 different drones. She stores the sperm in her spermatheca, and has a lifetime supply, therefore only needing to take 1 mating flight in her lifetime.
  • Honey bees are often thought of as living in wooden bee hives made by humans, but in fact a honey bee colony in the wild will naturally choose to build a nest in cavities, such as a tree hollow or cave - or around homes, they may even nest in an unused chimney.
  • A hive is perennial, meaning that it becomes inactive in the winter but “awakens” again in the spring. When individuals die, they are quickly replace – workers every 6-8 weeks, and the queen every 2-3 years. Because of this, a hive could technically be immortal!
  • Like other bees, honey bees cannot see the colour red. However, they may visit red flowers because they are able to see the U.V. patterns in the flowers. Find out more about how plants attract their perfect pollinators by visiting this page about flower pollination.
  • Different countries have kept bees in different ways. For example, in Europe, people kept bees in straw baskets called skeps, or even in tree trunks adapted for the purpose. In parts of the Mediterranean and Middle East, clay jars were used. Read more about the history of beekeeping.
  • The honey bee queen should certainly live 2 years, but may even live 3 or 4 years, whilst drones live for 55 days on average, and worker honey bees raised in the Spring may only live 6 or 7 weeks (those raised in the autumn may live 4 – 6 months). Find out more about the honey bee life cycle.
  • By digitally reconstructing the complete brain of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera, researchers hope to one day create an autonomous flying robot that thinks, senses, and acts like the sophisticated pollinator - personally, I would prefer it if we keep our pollinators and look after them!
  • The ancient Egyptians and other civilisations used honey as food and medicine. It was also used in offerings and for embalming the dead. Beeswax was used in magic rites, for preserving and also in medicine. Today, honey is believed to have health benefits. Find out more about the health benefits of honey.
  • The honey bee's brain is about the size of a tiny grain of sugar, but researchers have found that it is surprisingly sophisticated. Specifically, honey bees can understand conceptual relationships such as "same/different" and "above/below" that rely on relationships between objects rather than simply the physical features of objects.
  • Honey bees are most active between 60 - 100 °F, although they can forage in temperatures as low as 55 °F. For this reason, almond crops in California are dependent on honey bee pollination, because the trees bloom in February, before many wild bee species emerge from hibernation. Read more about honey bees foraging in cool temperatures.
  • Honey bees account for nearly 80% of crop pollination in the United States of America, because of the ease of transporting colonies across the country (although increasingly, some solitary bee species and bumble bees are being reared for pollination). Honey bees are actively pollinating at least somewhere in North America during every month of the year!
  • Honey bees have been trained to act as bomb detectors! Scientists have trained honey bees to react to minute amounts of chemicals found in explosives. Trainers reward honey bees with sugar water when they correctly sense a particular explosive compound, such that the bees automatically stick out their tongues in expectation of a reward when they correctly sense the compound!
  • It wasn’t until 1586 that it was recognised that the head of the honey bee colony is a female queen. This news was popularized by Charles Butler (the ‘Father of English Beekeeping’) in his book ‘The Feminine Monarchie’ in 1609. Prior to that, it was assumed the head of the colony must be a male – a ‘king’. Even William Shakespeare, in Henry V, refers to honey bees living in a kingdom, with a king as ruler.
  • Scientists have discovered that honey bees are able to 'vote' when making decisions about where the colony should create a new nest site! Female 'scout bees' fly out to look for potential sites, and report back to the colony, using the famous waggle dance to inform the rest of the colony about the location of the nest - and the better the potential site, the more enthusiastically the scout bee dances! If other worker bees like the potential nest site, they begin imitating the dance, until eventually a 'critical mass' has been achieved, with enough worker bees in agreement about the new nest site such that a decision is made.

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