• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • October 11, 2013 in Columnists

    The sticky lowdown on bees

    In case you were wondering, here is what I found out about bees. Personally, I could do without them, but the problem with that train of thought is the fact that if there are no bees, there will be no humans.

    • Bees belong to the third largest insect order which also includes wasps and ants.

    • There are three types of bees in the hive – Queen, Worker and Drone.

    • Workers live about 45 days in the summer, drones are driven out of the hive in the fall. Queens can live for up to 5 years.

    • The queen may lay 1,500 or more eggs each day during her lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.

    • Honey bees fly at 15 miles per hour.

    • Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.

    • Honeybees are the only insects that produce food used by humans.

    • Honeybees usually travel approximately 3 miles from their hive. They can travel up to 6 miles searching for food.

    • Honey bees produce beeswax from eight paired glands on the underside of their abdomen.

    • Honey bees must consume about 8 pounds of honey to biochemically produce each pound of beeswax.

    • Honeybees are the only bees that die after they sting.

    • Honeybees are responsible for pollinating approximately 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S.

    • Honeybees have five eyes, 3 small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front. They also have hair on their eyes.

    • Honeybees can see two things we cannot. One is in the ultraviolet and another is plane polarized light.

    • If a bee entered a movie theater, they would not see a continuous motion movie, but rather each individual frame.

    • Bees communicate with each other by dancing and by using pheromones (scents).

    • Bee brains are the size of a sesame seed, about 20,000 times less massive than the human brain.

    • Bees can recognize individual human faces.

    • Bees can count to four.

    • To make one pound of honey, the bees in the colony must visit 2 million flowers, fly over 55,000 miles and will be the lifetime work of approximately 768 bees.

    • A productive hive can make and store up to two pounds of honey a day.

    • A typical beehive can make up to 400 pounds of honey per year.

    • A single honey bee will visit 50-100 flowers on a single trip out of the hive.

    • A single honeybee will only produce approximately 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

    • Flowers and other blossoming plants have nectarines that produce sugary nectar. Worker bees suck up the nectar and water and store it in a special honey stomach. When the stomach is full the bee returns to the hive and puts the nectar in an empty honeycomb. Natural chemicals from the bee’s head glands and the evaporation of the water from the nectar change the nectar into honey.

    • Honey is 80% sugars and less than 18% water.

    • Bees produce honey as food stores for the hive during the long months of winter when flowers aren’t blooming and therefore little or no nectar is available to them.

    • Honey is the ONLY food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including water.

    • It would take about 1 ounce of honey to fuel a honeybee’s flight around the world.

    • Honey never spoils.

    • Honey has been used for millennia as a topical dressing for wounds since microbes cannot live in it. It also produces hydrogen peroxide. Honey has even been used to embalm bodies such as that of Alexander the Great.

    • Fermented honey, known as mead, is the most ancient fermented beverage. The term “honey moon” originated with the Norse practice of consuming large quantities of mead during the first month of a marriage.

    • Although Utah enjoys the title “The Beehive State,” the top honey-producing states include California, Florida, and South Dakota.

    I think that we all know the bees are having survival problems. This, in the greatest part, is due to their interactions with humanity. My next column will center on these interactions, good and bad. I’m starting to find these little buggers very interesting. Very interesting indeed.


      • Jesse

      • October 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm
      • Reply

      I really loved reading your bee article. I love bees. I was also wondering if you read my comment on your bag of bee venom column?

    • I didn’t get 400 pounds of honey this year, but I did get some.

    Leave a Comment