Today, in honor of the honey bees and their contribution to the delicious honey and foods we eat, I'm spreading awareness and celebrating National Honey Bee Day by sharing 15 Facts you may or may not know about the hyper-organized species of honey bees.
- The largest honey bee in a hive is the “queen bee”. She lays up to 2000 eggs per day and lives for 2-3 years. Each hive has only one queen.
- If the honey bee queen is removed from a hive, within 15 minutes, all of the bees will know about it, and will frantically begin the task of creating a replacement!
- All Worker bees are female and the one who travels from flower to flower collecting nectar, then producing honey in the hive, and are the honey bees that can sting. Depending on what season the worker bee is raised in they can live from either 7 weeks to about 6 months.
- The Drones are the male honey bees. Their sole purpose is to mate with the Queen. They don't work, make honey or even sting. Drones live on average of 55 days
- A single honey bee produces less than a teaspoon of honey throughout its life.
- The combined efforts of an entire colony can produce over 500 pounds of honey.
- Honey bees are one type of bee species out of 20,000 distinct bees around the world.
- The honey bee is the only insect that produces a food (honey) eaten by man in significant quantities.
- Honey bees also produce a natural wax. The wax is used to form cells in the shape of a hexagon to store honey and protect young honey bees within the hive.
- The hexagon structure of honeycombs enables bees to make super efficient use of beeswax, storage and preservation of honey through the winter.
- There are approximately 50,000 workers performing a variety of jobs: busily foraging, regulating the temperature in the hive, guarding the colony, as well as feeding each other, cleaning, creating wax, comb and honey. No wonder they need that many bees working in one hive. That’s a lot of work!
- Honey bees communicate through pheromones. Bee pheromones are produced by workers, drones and the queen. The pheromone is passed on through food sharing, thereby transmitting the pheromone. So, in the act of feeding, the bees are also communicating with each other.
- The worker bees also communicate through a form of “dance” called the “Waggle Dance” which communicates to other worker bees the distance and location of flowers or crops for the collection of nectar.
- Honey Bees are responsible for 80% pollination of billions of dollars of vegetables, fruit and other crops in the United States of America each year.
- Just like humans, healthy bees require a balanced diet. You may think bees have better access to food on farms than in the city but the truth is, bees that live in urban areas yield more honey than those in rural environments!
Which fact about the honey bee did you find most fascinating? Let us know!
Once again, Happy National Honey Bee Day! On this day we also would like to acknowledge the efforts of the beekeepers. Many of the ingredients that contribute to a balanced and healthy diet wouldn’t be possible without honey bees, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the hard work of beekeepers. It is thanks to them that we can enjoy honey and feed communities with nutritious crops like fruits, vegetables and nuts. Not to mention meat and dairy, which depend on bees to pollinate livestock feed crops, like alfalfa.
We at Naturacentric Apothecary challenge everyone to plant a small garden of flowers such as lavender, poppy, and sunflowers to name a few. The more flowers that are available the less all pollinating species such as honey bees have to compete for food to survive.