About the Bees

The honey bee is a fascinating and important insect in our world. Not just any bee can produce raw, natural honey. What you might suspect is a honey bee is actually another insect such as the yellow jacket, wasp, or bumble bee.

There are eight species of honey bees, several brought over to America in the 17th century by European settlers.  Therefore, many honey bees in the United States are actually exotic bees imported from different regions across the world like Italy, Russia and Africa. 

honey bee on flower

Some Raw, Fun Facts About Honey Bees:

–       Honey bees rob honey from other hives when there’s a shortage of it in their colony.

–       Honey bees swarm in a hive-like cluster outside of their colony when it has become overcrowded. They’ll stay in the swarm for days until the scout bees have found a location for their new home.

–       The process of pollination carried out by bees is responsible for the cycle of production of agricultural crops all over the world.

–       There are three castes in the society of bees: the male drones or the soldier, the female workers and the queen bee. The male drones only serve one purpose but to mate with a queen. The female workers nurse the male drones and queen, maintain the hive, and collect the nectar. The queen’s primary duties are to lay eggs and rule over her dominion through a scent called pheromones.

–       Contrary to popular notion bees don’t get angry or sting you for revenge; they rely on their instincts and are defensive in nature. One may only get stung by a bee when they’ve stepped on or killed another bee or is standing near a beehive.

–       Honey bees have two stomachs; the first stomach serves as a honey basket while the second one is a regular stomach that contains their internal organs.

–       Bee pollen, the pollen from a flower mixed with a bee’s digestive enzymes, is one of the most nutritious food sources in this planet. It is loaded with protein (25%) and contains over 18 amino acids.  Bee pollen also contains a number of vitamins including vitamin C, 28 minerals, 14 essential fatty acids, 11 types of carbohydrates and co-enzymes.

–       Honey bees maintain the temperature in their hives at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature higher or lower than that could destroy the state of the honey.

–       Honey bees do a “wiggle dance” when reporting to other bees about the location of a nectar source. This signal was discovered by Karl von Frisch in 1973.

–       Bees can’t see the color red but can see ultraviolet colors.

–       Bees have five eyes. Three of these eyes catch light while the two detect movement. Their two compound eyes can determine movements by 1/300th of a second, almost six times greater than humans can.  Scientists say that if a bee enters a movie theater, it’ll be able to notice the transition of each frame projected and identify them individually.

–       In theory, it is said that an ounce of honey can give a bee enough energy to circle the planet.

–       Only a pound of honey is produced from two million flowers.

–       A honey bee forages 50 to 100 flowers for nectar in a single day.

–      Worker bees are designated jobs from the time they are born and are assigned new tasks every few days. At 1-2 days old they are required to clean cells to keep the brood warm, up until 22 days through their deaths at 40-45 days where they fly from the hives to conduct various tasks including collecting pollen and nectar and pollinating plants.

–      Bees are little math geniuses that can calculate angles and distances to find new homes and food sources.

–      Honey bees are technically cold-blooded but unlike most cold-blooded critters, they are able to generate heat by vibrating their bodies.

–      The honey bee is not native to the Americas and was brought here by Europeans. The true honeybee was not known in the Americas until Spanish, Dutch, and English settlers introduced it near the end of the 17th century.

–      Hives can get crowded and when they do, there is a 10 step process to crown a new queen.

–      When a queen dies, the bees will know quickly because they stop smelling her pheromones. And if she dies prematurely, they immediately get working on creating a new queen to take over.

–      The personality of a bee colony can be altered simply by switching out the queen. Beekeepers will replace queens to create a more enthusiastic and efficient worker colony.

–      Honey bees are the only insect that produce food for humans.

–      The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.

–      Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.

–      Out of 20,000 species of bees, only 4 make honey.

–      Honey bees never sleep!