Out of all the bees – the Honey bees top the chart in having a direct relation to human being’s existence on earth. Since centuries honey bees have been raised to produce honey by harvesting it. Human beings also rely on honey bees to pollinate crops. It is a well known fact that one third of the food and crop that we eat every day is pollinated by Honey bees.
The following facts on honey bee we bet you did not have will have your mind buzzing:
A Honey Bee Colony contains plus 60,000 bees when it is at its peak season with different roles:
There are colonies of bees with a Queen Bee, Attendant Bees, Nurse Bees and Young Baby Bees. They have their set roles – the nurse bees take care of the young baby bees, however the attendant bees feed and bathe the queen bee. There are also bees who keep a guard – by keeping a watch for safety and to look out for threats. Some bees are known as construction worker bees who build the beeswax foundation inside of which the queen bee lays her eggs and the worker bees store honey. The undertakers carry the cleansing by carrying the dead away from the hive while the forager bees bring back enough pollen and nectar enough to feed the entire bees community.
2. Queen Honey Bee stores sperm to last her entire Lifetime and Male bees dies immediately after mating
Queen bees can easily live for 3-4 years. Within a week of emerging from her queen cell the new queen bee flies away from the hive to meet her mate – because her biological clock ticks extremely fast. It is imperative that she find her mate in the first 20 days or else it becomes too late for her because after this time span she loses her ability to mate. If she gets to mate within the required time frame of 20 days she never ever needs to mate again. She has something that is called a spermatheca in which she stores the sperm from where she keeps using the eggs for fertilization for the rest of her life.
Drone bees who are male honey bees only live as long as they provide sperm to the queen bee. After just a week of emerging from their cell same as the queen they become ready to mate – having done that they die soon afterwards.
3. Queen bee lays over 1,500 eggs per day and can lay up to 1 million eggs in her entire lifetime
Since the queen honey bee starts laying eggs within a week of emerging from her cell – the task of laying eggs is a lifelong phenomenon for her. Her egg laying is almost like a continuous procedure leaving her with hardly any time to look at anything else. She can lay eggs same as her own body weight that too in the one day. Since she is so busy – her attendant worker bees take care of her daily needs and help feed and groom her.
4. Honey bees fly at a speed of 15 miles/hour
It may sound very fast yet if you compare with other bugs – the speed at which a honey bee can fly is pretty slow. They are built just to take short trips between one to another flower and are not made for long distance travel. Their super tiny wings flap 12,000 times/minute – as they contain pollen sucked from the flowers and need to keep their bodies aloft to fly back home.
5. An Worker bee visits approx 2,000 flowers per day
Since the worker bee cannot carry pollen from all 2,000 flowers at once – she visits 50-100 flowers and then carries the pollen home and repeats this trip. Since they work all day long due to wear and tear they have only 3 week’s life span. A single worker bee produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her entire lifetime. They need to produce 60lb of honey for them to sustain a colony for entire winter season.
6. Out of all animal, birds or bugs on earth – Honey bees use the most complex symbolic language outside the primate family
Inside the honey bees brain measuring a cubic millimeter are a million neurons where each and everyone of them are used. Forager bees find flowers, gauge their value in terms of food source, navigate home to share details with other foragers.
Karl Von Frisch won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1973 for cracking the language code of honey bees called the Waggle Dance.