All Things Great and Small

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  1. The queen will lay around 1,500 eggs per day.
  2. The worker bees are all female and they do all the work for the hive. Workers perform the following tasks inside the hive as a House Bee: Cleaning, feeding the baby bees, feeding and taking care of the queen, packing pollen and nectar into cells, capping cells, building and repairing honeycombs, fanning to cool the hive and guarding the hive.
  3. Workers perform the following tasks outside the hive as Field Bees: Gathering nectar and pollen from flowers, collecting water and a sticky substance called propolis.
  4. Bees have two stomachs – one stomach for eating and the other special stomach is for storing nectar collected from flowers or water so that they can carry it back to their hive.
  5. The male bees in the hive are called drones. Their job in the hive is to find a queen to mate with. Male bees fly out and meet in special drone congregation areas where they hope to meet a queen. Male drone bees don’t have a stinger.
  6. If a worker bee uses her stinger, she will die.
  7. Bees are classified as insects and they have six legs.
  8. Bees have five eyes – two compound eyes and three tiny ocelli eyes.
  9. Bees go through four stages of development: Egg, Larvae, Pupae and Adult Bee.
  10. The bees use their honeycomb cells to raise their babies in, and to store nectar, honey, pollen and water.
  11. Nectar is a sweet watery substance that the bees gather. After they process the nectar in their stomach they regurgitate it into the honeycomb cells. Then they fan with their wings to remove excess moisture. The final result is honey.
  12. Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.
  13. Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it.
  14. Honey was found in the tombs in Egypt and it was still edible! Bees have been here around 30 million years.
  15. A honeybee can fly 24 km in an hour at a speed of 15 mph. Its wings beat 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute.
  16. Bees have straw-like tongues called a proboscis so they can suck up liquids and also mandibles so they can chew.
  17. Bees carry pollen on their hind legs called a pollen basket. Pollen is a source of protein for the hive and is needed to feed to the baby bees to help them grow.
  18. A beehive in summer can have as many as 50,000 to 80,000 bees. A bee must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey. It requires 556 worker bees to gather a pound of honey. Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.
  19. The average worker bee makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  20. Bees have 2 pairs of wings. The wings have tiny teeth so they can lock together when the bee is flying.
  21. Bees communicate through chemical scents called pheromones and through special bee dances.
  22. Every 3rd mouthful of food is produced by bees pollinating crops. Flowering plants rely on bees for pollination so that they can produce fruit and seeds. Without bees pollinating these plants, there would not be very many fruits or vegetables to eat.
  23. A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds (45 kg) of extra honey. The beekeeper only harvests the extra honey made by the bees.
  24. The average life of a honey bee during the working season is about three to six weeks. There are five products that come from the hive: Honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly.
  25. Beeswax is produced by the bees. Bees have special glands on their stomach that secrete the wax into little wax pockets on their stomach. The bee takes the wax and chews it with her mandibles and shapes it to make honeycomb.
  26. Propolis is a sticky substance that bees collect from the buds of trees. Bees use propolis to weatherproof their hive against drafts or in spots where rain might leak in.
  27. People have discovered the anti-bacterial properties of propolis for use in the medical field.
  28. Royal Jelly is a milky substance produced in a special gland in the worker bee’s head. For her whole life the Queen is fed Royal Jelly by the workers.
  29. Although bears do like honey, they prefer to eat the bee larvae.
  30. Honey comes in different colours and flavours. The flower where the nectar was gathered from determines the flavour and colour of the honey.

Original article: http://bit.ly/1nxUzB2

Bees

Other interesting facts:

  1. Approximately one third of all the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination.  Some crops pollinated are cucumbers, almonds, carrot seed, melons, apricots, cherries, pears, apples, prunes, plums, pluots, seed alfalfa, cantaloupe, seed onions, avocados, kiwi, blueberries, cranberries, etc.
  2. There are three members of a honey bee colony:
    1. Queen – mother to all the bees in the colony; she is a fertile female.
    2. Worker – an infertile female that performs the labor tasks of the colony, including feed preparation, guarding the hive, feeding the queens, drones and brood, and heating and cooling the hive.
    3. Drone – the male that starts out as an unfertilized egg.  Its only purpose in the colony is to mate with a virgin queen.  They live to mate with the queen, but not more than one in a thousand get the opportunity to mate.
  3. On average, a worker bee in the summer lasts six to eight weeks.  Their most common cause of death is wearing their wings out.  During that six to eight-week period, their average honey production is 1/12 of a teaspoon.  In that short lifetime, they fly the equivalent of 1 1/2 times the circumference of the earth.
  4. The peak population of a colony of honeybees is usually at mid-summer (after spring buildup) and results in 60,000 to 80,000 bees per colony.  A good, prolific queen can lay up to 3,000 eggs per day.
  5. Drones fly on United Airlines.  This is a corny joke amongst beekeepers because of the way queens and drones mate.  When a queen is five to six days old, she is ready to mate. She puts out a pheromone scent to attract the males and takes off in the air.  The males from miles around smell the scent and instantly volunteer in the mating chase, which is performed in the air.

“Unique among all God’s creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species.” (Royden Brown).

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