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10 Buzzworthy Honey Bee Fun Facts | BeCause Tees

10 Buzzworthy Honey Bee Fun Facts

It’s well known that honey bees pollinate our crops and produce honey, but we bet there’s lots more you didn’t know about these important pollinators. Here are 10 buzzworthy honey bee fun facts to help you get to know these helpful insects.

Honey bee collecting pollen

10 Honey Bee Fun Facts

1. Their Wings Beat Very Fast

According to Live Science, researchers have found that the honey bee flaps its wings a staggering 230 times every second. That’s even faster than the fruit fly, which is a much smaller insect.

2. It Takes a Lot of Honey Bees to Make Honey

Did you know that a single honey bee produces only about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime? There’s a lot of effort involved to produce enough surplus honey!

3. Each Colony Has a Social Structure

Honey bee colonies have a social structure that consists of three primary types of bees: a single queen, workers and drones. The female queen's role is to lay eggs. Worker bees, which are always female, undertake various tasks such as nursing the young and foraging for nectar. Male bees, or drones, have the sole purpose of mating with a queen.

4. Royal Jelly Determines the Queen

All honey bee larvae are initially fed royal jelly, a nutrient-rich secretion produced by worker bees. However, only those intended to become queens continue to receive this special diet past the first 3 days. This plentiful supply of royal jelly helps to provide changes that set the queen apart, enabling larger growth and a longer life than the rest of the colony.

Queen honey bee

5. Queens are Twice the Size

Queen honey bees measure around 2cm, which is around double the size of the workers.

6. Queens Lay Eggs at Speed!

Queen honey bees are extremely efficient at laying eggs – they can lay an egg in a matter of seconds and can lay up to 2,000 eggs in a single day.

7. They Use a Waggle Dance to Communicate

Honey bees have an extremely clever method of communication known as the ‘waggle dance.’ When a worker bee returns to the hive after finding nectar, it performs a dance to signal to other workers that they need to help. Not only that, the way they move during the dance conveys important information to help the other workers to find the new food source, including the distance from the hive and even the direction in relation to the sun.

8. Pheromones Are Also Used to Communicate

Perhaps not as much as fun as a waggle dance, honey bees also use pheromones to communicate with each other. By secreting chemical substances called pheromones, honey bees are able to pass on various messages to each other including the alarm pheromone, used to warn others of a threat, and queen pheromones that the queen uses to affect everything from the behaviour of the colony, to attracting drones for mating.

Honey bee on yellow flower

9. A Hive Can Contain Thousands of Bees

Hives can contain a very large number of honey bees – 60,000 is an average number, although an individual hive may have thousands more.

10. Drones die after mating

As soon as they’ve successfully mated with a queen, a drone bee dies – not such a fun fact for drones!

 

We hope you've enjoyed getting a glimpse into the lives of these much-loved pollinators with our honey bee fun facts! If you enjoy helping pollinators and showing off your love for bees as much as we do, our pollinator clothing and gifts don't just look good, they do good too! For every purchase, we fund the planting of trees and donate to ecological nonprofits, including Pollinator Partnership. Shop all nature apparel today!

Honey bee shirt

 Photo: @the_backyard_bohemian

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