Humans have been captivated and mystified by bees and the way a hive functions for thousands of years. While it is not at all necessary to be an expert on bees in order to be a beekeeper, I’m sure you will eventually find yourself wanting to learn more about these insects and what they are up too. To help get you started learning about bees, here are some interesting facts about them:
- Honeybees are not native to North America and were brought here by early European settlers.
- The first honey bee introduced to the continent was the German Honey Bee.
- The population of a beehive during the peak summer months can rival the population of Delaware! When a hive is healthy and at its most productive, it will be home to 80-10000 bees. That number will dwindle by half when winter comes.
- Honey bees communicate almost exclusively via pheromones. They use the scent of these hormones to communicate and coordinate with each other. Smoke disrupts this process and temporarily jams the bee’s radar, making communication impossible.
- The use and consumption of honey by humans is depicted in Ancient Grecian, Egyptian and Stone Age Paintings.
- A queen bee can lay around 2000 eggs a day, every day for up to five years. She only mates once, with several males, whom she kills. Their genetic material will still be able to fertilize eggs several months or even a few years after their death!
- Honey bees have five eyes and two pairs of wings. Three of the eyes are on the top of the head.
- A person would need to be stung over one thousand times in order for bee stings to be fatal.
- Bees utilize a form of climate control. When it is too cold in the hive, they form together in a cluster and vibrate their wing muscles to provide warmth. In the summer, they use their wings as fans to cool the hive.
- Honeybees are responsible for pollinating about 33% of the food consumed by Americans.
- Top speed of the average honey bee is a whopping 15 miles per hour. The wings of the average bee beat about 11,000 times per minute. They tend to fly upwards of three miles from their hive.
- Some medical researchers think that bee venom may someday help treat various conditions such as HIV, MS and some types of arthritis.
- When an older bee takes over a job usually done by a younger bee, the older bee’s brain will start to age in reverse.
- No other insect on the planet makes food for people.
- Honey will remain fresh and edible for thousands of years.
- Honey bees have a pair of stomachs. One for to gather nectar and one to digest food.
Of course, that’s not all there is to know about bees. It isn’t even all of the interesting things to know about bees. It is hoped that the above list of facts will inspire you to deepen your knowledge of honey bees and all they do for us and our planet.
Hopefully, you want to learn all you can about them. Not only will it make you a better beekeeper, the academic study of bees will also provide hours of enjoyment. As you raise and work with bees, you’ll naturally want to learn more about them, as you learn more about them, you’ll want to spend more time working with and tending to your hives. When this happens, congratulations! You Officially have “Bee Fever”! Welcome to the club!
Honey is just as interesting as the bees that make it. To the bees, honey is just food to fuel the hive and keep it running. To people, honey is much more than a food. It has been used as money, medicine and in religious rites for a very long time. Here are some interesting facts about the golden nectar which has captivated the imaginations and taste buds of people the world over.
- In Spain, there is an ancient cave known as the “Cave of the Spider”. It’s walls depict a painting of a person taking honey from a bee hive. The age of the painting is thought to be around 14-15 thousand years old!
- In Germany during the Middle Ages, the working class was permitted to pay taxes with honey and beeswax instead of money.
- It takes the nectar from nearly two million flowers and travel well over 50,000 miles to produce one pound of honey.
- Honey is such an efficient food for bees that a single bee would only require two tablespoons worth to have the energy to fly all the way around the world.
- A single honey bee is almost able to produce a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
- Honey contains a large amount of antibacterial and antifungal compounds. This means that it doesn’t really ever spoil. Archaeologists recovered sealed containers of honey from King Tut’s tomb, which were over two thousand years old and perfectly fine to eat!!
- Roman legionnaires were known to use honey as an ointment for wounds. The antibacterial compounds prevent infection and speed up the healing process.
- Ancient Egyptian surgeons used honey to treat and prevent post-surgical infections.
- The word “honey” is said to be derived from a Hebrew word which meant to “enchant”.
- Not all honey is created equal nor does it taste the same. The color and flavor of honey can vary considerably depending on which flowers were used to produce it, the weather and the types of bees involved. Even the type of hive you use can influence how your bee’s honey looks and tastes.
- The same properties that make honey so useful in preventing infections in wounds and cuts also is also said to make it a fairly effective acne treatment.
There is no doubt that honey is one amazing substance. It has been a part of the human experience almost from the get go. There is also no doubting that honey does have some valid medical uses, but it isn’t the place of this website or any other for that matter to make outrageous claims about what honey can do. The information in this website isn’t intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider, and is provided for informational purposes only.