One of the most brilliant and economically useful flying insects in the world today is the honeybee. These super-important honey-making insects are workaholics and very determined in everything they do. The next few paragraphs will highlight ten interesting facts about bees so that you can do your bit to support these magnificent creatures.
Without much ado, let’s dive in:
Honey bees are scientifically known as Apis mellifer, and this stands for ‘honey-carrying, bee.’ They are excellent pollinators of flowers, vegetables, and fruits, thus helping plants to grow and environmentally friendly as well. They do this by transferring fertilizing powder or pollen between the male and female parts of flowers and this transmission helps plants to grow their seeds and fruits at the end of the day.
2. Living in a colony
Honeybees live in colonies or hives and are divided into three types:
- Drones – These are male honeybees whose sole purpose is to mate with the queen. Hundreds live in each colony or hive during spring and summer seasons. But when winter arrives, the hive enters survival mode and the drones are driven out.
- Workers – They are females and their major purpose is to search for nectar and pollen from flowers. They are also responsible for building and protecting the beehive. Workers can also use their wings to circulate and clean the air. They are the ones that most people see outside the hive flying up and down.
- Queen – This is the bee that is in charge of the hive and her only job is to lay eggs. These eggs are the next generation of bees in the hive. The queen is also known to emit chemicals that direct the activities of the other honeybees.
3. Making the new queen
When the queen bee dies, workers create a new queen. They do this by picking out a young larva and feed it with what is referred to as ‘royal jelly’ which is special food. Royal jelly helps the larva to mature into a fertile or productive queen.
4. Magic food – superfood
Honey, that sweet substance produced by those amazing insects contains several nutrients which are vital for sustaining life. These are vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and water. What makes honey unique among other foods is that it is the only food that naturally contains an antioxidant that is known to improve brain function and is known as ‘pinocembrin.’
5. Speedy creatures
They fly at impressive speeds of about 25 kilometers per hour and their wings beat the air approximately 200 times per second, which is quite astounding.
6. The queen bee
The busiest time of the year for the queen is during summer and that is when she lays about 2,500 eggs every day. She can live for about five years.
7. A short life of working bees
The worker honeybee can only live for about five to six weeks during which she produces a small dollop of honey, about one-twelfth of a teaspoon.
8. Excellent sense of smell
The honey bee has a remarkable sense of smell, thanks to the 170 odorant receptors they possess. They use these odorant receptors for communication within the hive as well as to identify or distinguish different types of flowers when foraging for food. They also possess ten receptors for taste.
9. Dangerous “women”
Only female honeybees sting; the males don’t.
10. The royal jelly food
The only difference between queen bees and worker bees is that the latter receives additional rations of ‘royal jelly’ but they share the same genes.