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Next time you’re outside, stop and see if you can find a honeybee on a flower in bloom. If you stop and look at that bee for a little while, my guess is that some questions will start to pop into your mind:
- How do honeybees make honey?
- How does one bee communicate with another?
- And just how do they know how to navigate to and from their hive?
Questions certainly popped into our minds, so we’ve decided to post 10 answers to these questions and more below. The next time you see a bee, think about some of these!
1. Honey bees have four wings, six legs, two compound eyes made of up many, many tiny lenses and three simple eyes on the top of the head that are light sensors.
2. Honeybees perform a waggle dance to communicate the location and the directions to distant food sources that are 100 yards to 2-3 miles from the hive.
3. In one trip honeybees visit 100-1500 blossoms to fill their honey crop, an organ separate from their digestive stomach that is used to transport nectar.
4. Forager bees, steadfast and committed to their task, make up to 30 trips a day. Using their long, straw-like proboscis they collect nectar from the wild flowers and herbs of meadows. As Johannes Wirz says in QUEEN OF THE SUN, “Bees are the golden thread from flower to flower, keeping the world in bloom.”
5. The honey bee’s wings beat at incredible speeds! About 200 beats per second, creating the their un-missable “buzz”. A bee can fly up to 15 miles per hour and can fly a total of up to six miles.
6. Bees were not only one of the first sources for sweetness, but also for light! Beeswax candles were used by humans to provide long-lasting light in the darkness. Secreted from glands of the bee’s abdomen, beeswax is used by the honeybee to build the honey comb in the beehive.
7. In their entire lifespan, a worker bee only produces 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of honey.
8. The beehive is a “super organism”. All of the bees work together as a single entity. A lone bee cannot live on it’s own outside of the hive for even 24 hours.
9. In winter bees live on stored honey and pollen and cluster into a ball to conserve warmth. Their “body” temperature in the hive is close to human body temperature, 95-97 degrees, regardless of the temperature outside of the hive.
10. Some big numbers to think about! In producing just one pound of honey, bees from the hive visit approximately one million flowers. The entire hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles. This is equivalent to three and a half orbits around the earth just to collect one pound of glistening honey.