Interesting Honeybee Facts
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
All worker bees, those foraging for nectar and those in the hive, feeding the brood, keeping the hive cool, tending to the queen, and all the various jobs that are done so that the colony can thrive, are FEMALE!
The drones' (males) only job is to mate with the queen.
The queen honeybee can live 2 years, but may even live 3 or 4 years.
Drones (the males) live for 4 – 6 months, and worker honeybees raised in the Spring may only live 6 to 8 weeks (those raised in the autumn may, like drones, live 4 – 6 months).
The difference is in how much work there is to be done!
There is only one queen per hive. Her job is simple—laying the eggs that will make the hive's next generation of bees. If the queen dies, workers will create a new queen by feeding one of the female larvae an exclusive diet of a food called "royal jelly." This elixir enables the worker to develop into a fertile queen. Queens also regulate the hive's activities by producing chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees. Sometimes when the queen bee has stopped laying eggs productively, the worker bees will create a new queen in the same way as illustrated above. Then the old queen is pushed out by the new queen.
The worker honeybee lives only 6-8 weeks in the summer, working until her wings give out. And if she stings you, she will die. So remember she never wants to sting and only lives to work, gathering nectar for her hive colony!
A worker bee will make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
One of my buyers, who is a baker, worked out how many honeybees it takes to make a 5-gallon (60lb.) pail of honey:
5 gallons = 3840 teaspoons. 3840 x 12 = 46080 bees. Wow!
A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect about 2.2 pounds of honey.
Honey bees fly up to 15 mph and beat their wings 200 times per second or 12,000 beats per minute! Wow!
During the Winter, as the temperature drops below 55 degrees F, honeybees gather in a central area of the hive and form a "winter cluster" to keep warm. The worker bees will flutter their wings and "shiver" to produce warmth for the cluster. They and the brood (larvae) live on stored honey and pollen and by Spring, the hive is swarming with a new generation of bees.
Honey includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water. And can contain pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning. (Dependent upon the floral source of the honey) From: benefits-of-honey.com
Did you know... The US does not produce certified organic honey in commercial amounts?
This is due to the GMO's and chemicals that are so pervasive in our agricultural systems. Countries like Australia, Brazil, Mexico and India are leading producers of certified organic honey. Certified organic honey can also pass Non-GMO verification. Let me know if you're interested!