Honeybees have fascinated scientists for decades…and for good reason! The beehive is a delicate colony where each sector of the community must play out its well-defined role in order for the community to survive. There are 3 types of honeybees: the worker, the drone and the queen – none of which can live on their own.
Honeybees are one of science’s great mysteries because they have remained unchanged for 20 million years, even though the world changed around them.
Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years.
The true honeybee was not known in the Americas until Spanish, Dutch, and English settlers introduced it near the end of the 17th century.
Did you know that bees have 4 wings?
The honeybee’s wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
A bee flies at a rate of about 12 miles per hour.
How many eyes does a honeybee have? Five.
Honeybees communicate with one another by “dancing”.
The queen bee is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength. She will lay about 1,000 to 1,500 eggs per day.
In the cold winter months, bees will leave the hive only to take a short cleansing flight. They are fastidious about the cleanliness of their hive.
Honeybees do not die out over the winter. They feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months and patiently wait for spring. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.
It takes 35 pounds of honey to provide enough energy for a small colony of bees to survive the winter.
Honeybee colonies have unique odors that members flash like identification cards at the hive’s front door. All the individual bees in a colony smell enough alike so that the guard bees can identify them.
About the Work of the Honeybee
The honeybee is not born knowing how to make honey; the younger bees are taught by the more experienced ones.
Some worker bees are nurse bees. Their job is to feed the larvae.
A honeybee visits between 50 and 100 flowers during one collection flight from the hive.
In order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited.
A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey.
One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year.
An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
At the peak of the honey-gathering season, a strong, healthy hive will have a population of approximately 50,000 bees.
It would take approximately 1 ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
A Cornell University paper released in 2000 concluded that the direct value of honeybee pollination to U.S. agriculture is $14.6 billion annually.
We should appreciate honeybees for their honey and pollination services. 80% of the pollination of the fruits, vegetables and seed crops in the U.S. is accomplished by honeybees.
Honey is the primary food source for the bee. The reason honeybees are so busy collecting nectar from flowers and blossoms is to make sufficient food stores for their colony over the winter months. The nectar is converted to honey by the honeybee and stored in the wax honeycomb.
The United States has an estimated 211,600 beekeepers.