Honeybees are some of the most fascinating creatures in the world. They produce a delicious healthy food highly in demand; honey.
To produce a large quantity of honey enough to be harvested, bees work together as a team all year round. It takes an extremely large effort and time to make a bottle of honey that you purchase at the store, more than you could ever imagine.
The actual measure of honey that a single bee produces in its lifetime is 1/12th of a teaspoon. This is equivalent to 5 grams.
Here are some interesting and awesome facts about honey bees and honey production to help you understand what it takes to come up with such pure gold. Read on to get your mind blown!
Awesome Facts about Honey and Honey Production
- A bee makes less than a gram of honey in its lifetime. Considering that most worker bees live only a maximum of six weeks during summer, which is the only season honey is made, it is amazing that a bee can make this amount of honey in its short life.
- The actual measure of honey that a single bee produces in its lifetime is 1/12th of a teaspoon. This is equivalent to 5 grams.
- 1286 bees need to work their whole life, to fill a jar of honey. A jar of honey weighs 750g (27 ounces)
- It would take 12 worker bees to make a teaspoonful of honey.
- Honey production entails an intricate process of good hive management, pollination of flowers, nectar collection and more.
- To make a pound of honey (450 g), bees will need to visit up to 2 million flowers.
- To generate honey the equivalent of 2 pounds (1 kg), when measured according to distance, the bee would have flown approximately three times around the world in terms of air miles.
- In terms of mileage, a hive of bees will have to fly for up to 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey (450 g).
- The taste of the honey, color and flavor is determined by the flower the honey bee visits. Different flowers have different kinds of nectar.
- Honey is a bee’s primary source of food. This is the reason bees go to great extent to collect nectar and pollen. They overwork during the summer months so as to have enough reserve stored away for the colder winter months when there will be no forage outside the hive.
- Honey is actually nectar converted into honey through a thorough process of moisture reduction and enzymatic action after which it is then stored away in the wax honeycomb.
- Honey making is not an inborn trait for the honey bees. It is a skill that every younger bee is taught by more experienced worker bees.
- Not all bees within the hive are involved in honey production. There are different categories of bees. Some are known as nurse bees. Their role is to specifically feed the larvae unlike the other worker bees that go out of the hive to forage for food.
- With every single trip that the honeybee makes to collect nectar and pollen, it will visit between 50 and 100 flowers. It makes several trips in a day from the hive and back.
- In a full cycle of one year, a healthy hive has the capacity to produce between 60 and 100 pounds of honey (27 to 45 kg).
- During peak honey production season, the average number of bees in a strong hive will be numbering about 50,000 bees.
- In a day, a single bee may travel between 1 and 6 km (1.5 to 4.6 miles) radius around the hive to look for nectar. Research has shown that in some extreme cases, the bee can go up to 13.5 km (9 miles) in search of forage.
- No other animal in the world has the ability to produce food safe for humans except the honey bee making it a very special insect.
Awesome Facts about Honey Bees
- In a hive there are usually three main types of bees. The queen, drones and worker bees.
- All worker bees are female. They also at one time had an equal opportunity of becoming a queen only that they were not fed the special food that turns a female bee into a queen, famously referred to as royal jelly.
- The male bees have large eyes to help them locate the queen bee easily for mating purposes.
- Drones mate with the queen bee in midflight high up in the air. After mating, they lose their reproductive organs because it remains lodged in the queen bee bringing certain death to the drones.
- The queen bee is the most high profile member of the colony. Her presence means survival of the colony. She has the capacity of laying 2000 eggs in a day.
- A queen lays two types of eggs. Fertilized and unfertilized. The unfertilized grow up to become males while the fertilized eggs will become females.
- Bees are drawn by colorful flowers. If you want to attract more bees in your garden, simply grow colorful flowers.
- Bees are particularly drawn to blue flowers, and exhibit an appreciation for clustered plants such as the lavender and rosemary.
- Bees will rarely sting a person unless there is imminent danger to their hive or their own lives. They avoid stinging because they could potentially lose their sting in the process which guarantees their death. To avoid dying, they avoid stinging unless its unavoidable.
- There are countless species of bees. Every continent has well over 20,000 unique species apart from Antarctica.
- The bee stands out from other social insects because it is the only one that humans partially domesticate.
- The main diet of a bee consists of honey and pollen. The honey is their energy source food because it is loaded with carbohydrates, while pollen provides them with much needed amino acids.
- A queen’s diet is slightly different from the other bees’. It has more honey to give her fertility. She eats special food known as royal jelly which contains much more honey and pollen than the larval jelly which the other worker bees and drones eat. Without this special food, the queen would be indistinguishable from the rest of the bees. It is her food that makes her special.
- Bees can reach flying speeds of up to 12 mph.
- Bees have their own system of regulating the temperatures within their hive to make sure it is within the optimum range throughout the year. During winter, they seal all entrances to their hive with propolis in addition they huddle together to keep warm and concentrate their body heat, with the queen bee being the nucleus of this cluster. During the warm summer months, the bees do things differently. They collect water and line up at the entrance, fanning the water into the air using their wings. The evaporation of the water cools their hive and the air will be circulated around using the same mechanism of fanning their wings. In a way, they have mastered the art of air conditioning.
- A queen bee’s entire life is dedicated to laying eggs. By the time an old queen dies, she would have laid up to 800,000 eggs. She will never leave the hive during this time, only once at the beginning when she needs to mate with drones or unless there is a need to move to a new location.
- Bees are known for their tidiness and meticulous living. The help to groom each other, especially the worker bees when they are about to fly out to forage for food. They also keep their hive very clean at all times.
- The average weight of a single bee is 0.00025 pounds (0.1133 grams).
- To make a total of one pound weight (450 g), you would need roughly 4000 bees.
- Considering the average number of bees in a hive is 50,000 bees, a colony can weigh approximately 12 pounds (5.5 kg).
- A colony of bee is very delicate. The survival of a colony entails team effort. None of the three categories of bees in a hive (queen, drone or workers) can survive if left on their own according to scientific research. They all need one another.
- Bees have been producing honey and in existence for more than 160 million years.
- The true honeybee was introduced in America only in the 17th century by Dutch and English immigrants.
- Bees only have a total of 4 wings.
- The bee’s distinct buzz is caused by the stroke of its wings. A bee strokes its wings 11,400 times in a minute.
- Bees have five eyes.
- Honeybees communicate with each other by what seems to be a dance.
- Summer months are the busiest for the queen bee. She has to lay up to 2000 eggs a day to keep the colony strong and efficient before winter sets in.
- During winter, honeybees stay in the hive and will only leave for a brief cleansing flight to make sure the hive stays clean throughout. The cleanliness of the hive is such a big deal to the bees.
- Honey bees do not die during winter, they store up food reserves in form of honey and feed on this when it is too cold to fly out. Their clustering helps them maintain body warmth to survive until spring time.
- A colony of bees will need at least 35 pounds of honey (16 kg) to survive the winter.
- Every bee within a colony has a distinct smell that is detected by the guard bees at the entrance to detect any invaders. The unique odor is what gives a bee the right of entry into a hive past the guards.
- 1 ounce of honey (28 g) is enough to power a bee to fly around the world.
- Bees are credited with 80% of the world’s plant pollination of fruits, vegetables and other plants.
- It is estimated the USA alone, has over 212,000 beekeepers according to a survey conducted in 2016.
- The scientific name of the honey bee is Apis mellifera. Apis is a Greek word originating from the Egyptian language meaning ‘swarm’ while mellifera means ‘honey laden’ in Latin. In combination, the name means a honey bearing swarm.
- Male bees do not have a capacity to sting unlike their female counterparts, for they do not have a sting. Queen bees also can sting but because they are mostly hidden in the hive, it is rare to be stung by a queen bee.
- It will take only 15 minutes for the entire colony to discover their queen is missing making them to go crazy.
- Queen bees are unique because of their larger size. They are twice longer than the workers.
- Honey bees use pheromones to communicate, a mechanism known as trophallaxis.
- Honey bees taste with their front feet, teeth, tongue, jaw and even antennae. Their antennas have a high sensitivity having more than 300 taste sensors.
Honey Bee Trivia
- What is mead?
- What does “super” imply to a beekeeper?
It is the box in which honey is stored.
- How many flowers do bees visit in order to make 1 pound of honey?
- How far do bees travel to get a pound of honey?
More than 55,000 miles.
- What is the approximate amount of honey a worker bee produces in six weeks lifespan?
5 g or 1/12th of a teaspoon.
- What is the maximum speed a honey bee is able to fly?
Up to 15 mph.
- What amount of honey will a bee need to be able to fly around the world once?
1 ounce (28 g)
- How long have honey bees been known to produce honey from flowers?
Over 10 million years
- What is the name of the Scottish liquor made from honey?
- What is the number of sides contained in a honeycomb cell?
- Which state in the US has the most number of beehives?
- What mode do honeys use to communicate with each other?
A dance. To inform other bees of the presence of nectar, pollen or imminent danger. Also pheromones.
- Which are the most common types of honeybees?
Italian, German, Carniolan, Buckfast, Caucasian and Russian.
- Which type of honey bee is known to produce the most amount of honey?