Fast Facts

  • The bee’s brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.
  • The queen bee can live up to five years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2,000 eggs per day.
  • The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast – about 200 beats per second – thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to 10km, and as fast as 24km per hour.
  • Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors (this is the equivalent to 50 times the scent of a dog), compared with only 62 in fruit flies and 79 in mosquitoes.
  • The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
  • With the exception of allergy sufferers, it is estimated that it would take 1,100 honey bee stings to be fatal.
  • The honey bee has been around for 30 million years.
  • It takes about 556 workers to gather half a kilo of honey from about 2 million flowers.
  • Each honey bee colony has a unique odour for members’ identification.
  • Honey bees communicate with one another by “dancing”.
  • Bees have five eyes; two compound eyes made up of thousands of lenses on three simple eyes on the back of their heads.
  • A beehive can use up to 10 litres of water per week.
  • Aero-dynamically it is impossible for bees to fly.
  • Pure honey was found in 2,000 year-old Egyptian pyramids, and was still edible.
  • A person who looks after bees is called an Apiarist or a beekeeper.
  • It takes 500 honey bees four weeks to make one kilogram of honey, and they will travel the equivalent of three orbits of the earth in distance to collect it.
  • Queen bees can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, that’s one egg every 43 seconds.
  • Honey bees communicate in two forms, they use pheromones that give off a scent, which passes a message to the other bees, and they also use a dance called the waggle dance to lead the bees to the flowers.
  • There are on average 50,000 worker bees in a hive. 20,000 of which are female worker bees collecting honey. Really strong hives can have more than 100,000 bees.
  • Even with protective equipment, beekeepers can get stung up to 100 times per day when collecting honey.
  • Bees need to eat seven kilograms of nectar to produce just one kilogram of beeswax.
  • Worker bees live on pollen and nectar and live six weeks. Queen bees live on Royal Jelly and live up to six years.
  • Male Bees are called drones and they are very lazy, they do not work.
  • One kilogram of pollen contains, on average, the same amount of protein as seven kilograms of beef.

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