23 amazing facts about honey bees that you should know

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You are currently viewing 23 amazing facts about honey bees that you should know

For a long time, honey bees have been undervalued, numerous individuals just considered honey bees to be irritating

signals and didn’t think a lot of the effect they have on a situation and economy. Nonetheless, a critical decrease of honey bee provinces encouraged enormous changes by the way we see them. Lately, honey bees and their significance for our condition have been advanced much more. A greater spotlight is put on finding out about them and their life, which made individuals more mindful of the issues they are confronting.

Honey bees are astonishing animals and are available all around the globe. They are probably the best pollinator on the planet, and a great deal of the food we eat relies upon their difficult work. The world without honey bees is incomprehensible as their annihilation would enormously influence our economy and food sources. There are numerous sorts of honey bees, yet this time we will concentrate on honey bees. Go along with us on an excursion through 20 honey bee realities and you may gain proficiency with some stunning things about our companions honey bees.

1. The colony comprise of three types of bees: the queen, the workers, and the drones.

The main job of queen bee includes laying eggs, building the hive, and ruling the colony. all the female bee works are responsible for collecting pollen and nectar. They also work around the hive. The male bees or drones aren’t responsible for doing a lot. They copulate with the queen so that they lay eggs.

Hence, as a matter of fact, it is true that worker bees are the busiest ones in the hive.

2. Movement Helps Bees To Communicate

Some amazing facts about bees tell us that they communicate with each other through movement. Many say that it seems like they are dancing or head-butting with each other. The movements aren’t certain, these depend upon the message that they want to convey.

3. Bee Sting Offers Health Benefits.

Not many of us know, melittin found in the venom of honey bees helps to prevent honey bees. It can also relieve pain in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Bees can perceive and are good at recalling faces.

Same as human beings, bees can also see faces. This helps them to recall specific features of the face. it is interesting to know that they can map out characteristics on human faces, that is is why this is currently being studied to help with the development of facial recognition software.

5. Bees use the sun to help them navigate.

As per studies, the position of the sun helps bees to navigate their path. Also, it has been discovered that they are sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field. Since their eyes are sensitive to polarized light bees can see the sun through thick clouds.

6. Honey bee pollination books for almost one-third of the food that we consume.

They make delicious honey by collecting nectar. We, as human beings, then obtain this honey from their hives and consume it in many different foods and drinks. You will be surprised to know that apart from bees, there is no other insect that creates something we intake in our daily lives.

7. A hive may consist of more than one queen bee.

While the first queen is being replaced, two queens can be alive at the same time. The first queen will be killed but for some time the two can live simultaneously.

8. Do you know how many stomachs do they have?

Bees comprise two stomachs. The one is the regular stomach which is used for food digestion, helps them to survive. The second one, however, is special.  It is created to store the nectar that the bee has collected from various flowers, as well as water. The two stomachs help honey bees to finish their daily tasks. Without it, they wouldn’t be able to grab the nectar from the flowers and move it.

9. Do bees sleep?

Yes, bees do sleep. But not in the same way as we do. Studies have revealed that they need sleep of five to eight hours a day, similar to that of us. Although, it has been found that during the hours of stay they ensure that they save enough energy. They will discover a place to stay in this peaceful position for a longer period of time so that when they start their day they have enough energy to carry out their routine tasks.

10. Do you Know Bees Work Harder Than You?

Worker bees can live for nine months, during chillier seasons. But during summer, they rarely last for more than six weeks. They work so hard that leads them to death.

11. Do You Know What Happens when bees change jobs?

They alter their brain chemistry when they alter their jobs.  It is interesting to note that regular honeybees, which are responsible for doing multiple jobs in their lifetime. This will change their brain chemistry before taking up a new gig.

Scout bees the ones who look for new sources of food are always ready for adventure.

12. Bees are changing medicine.

To strengthen their hive, bees make use of resin. These are obtained from evergreen trees called propolis. These are generally beehive glue. Bees utilize these as caulk. On the other hand, we humans use it to fight bacteria such as viruses and fungi. Studies have proved that propolis obtained from a beehive may reflect cold stores herpes, cavities, or eczema.

13. Do You Know Bees Are Good At Resolving hairy mathematical problems.

It’s time to do small pending jobs, assume it’s the weekend. Suppose you have to visit six stores and all of these are located at different locations. Now, you may look for the shortest distance through which you can cover all of these. In layman’s language, it is called the “traveling salesman problem,”. Sometimes it can even stump some computers. But for bumblebees, it isn’t a big deal. Researchers have discovered that bumblebees fly the shortest route possible between flowers. This makes them the only living being that can solve this problem.

14. Bees are Can Create Jobs.

Oh yes, you heard it right. Studies have shown that the average American intakes approximately 1.51 pounds of honey every year. Also, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate up to 80 percent of the country’s insect crop. This implies that bees pollinate over $15 billion worth of crops each year.

15. Only female honey bees can sting

The stinging of honey bees is one of the most discussed topics in the world. As per the traditional beehive, only worker bees and queens can sting. Their sting acts as a weapon when it comes to protecting g their hive. A bee usually does not sting unless treated roughly or you step on it.

16. Bees Have Four Stages Of Development.

You can’t call yourself a honey bee expert unless you learn about their fascinating development. Even though there are three types of bees (castes) in a beehive and each one of these has its own set f responsibilities,  all of them start with the same. The stages of honey bee development include are -egg, larva, pupa. After crossing these three stages, in the final stage, we have an adult bee. The queen develops in a speedy manner i.e in 16 days. On the other hand, the drone takes a longer duration than that of 24 days.

The egg stage is the same for all castes i.e. three days.  After three days of larva being hatched, the next stage begins.

The larval stage lasts 4 – 6 days and the larva remains at the bottom of the honeycomb cell. Worker bees feed the larva with secretions so the larva can grow and develop. Before the next stage, the workers cap the cell and the larva makes a cocoon.

The pupal stage is preceded by the pre-pupal stage which ends with a molt. This stage is a critical time for a honey bee because during this stage larva goes through the greatest amount of physical change. The white larva changes into black and yellow adult.

When the adult bee is ready, she chews the cap of her cell and emerges ready for her duties. Honey bees are divided into three castes and each caste benefits the colony differently.

17. Honey bees can recognize human faces.

You might be surprised that face recognition is among honey bee facts, but it is pretty remarkable. We thought that face recognition was reserved only for animals with large brains, with an area of the brain specially reserved for face recognition.

However, scientists say that it isn’t true. To us humans honey bees all appear alike, but we might not all look the same to them. A study reveals that honey bees can learn to identify human faces in photos. Also, they can remember the faces even after two days of seeing them.

Honey bees were provided with pictures of faces that had the same background colors. The lighting sizes and included only the face and neck not to confuse the bees with clothes. The researchers trained the bees to select correct human faces by rewarding them with sugar water if they chose the right ones. A few bees have failed to understand what the task was, whereas five bees were successful at it.

While they begin the process of recognizing faces, honey bees would fly towards the photo horizontally so they could get a good look at it. Honey bees would also hover a few centimeters above the photo before deciding where to land.

18. The queen bee Is Authorized To Choose the sex of its larvae

Upon the fertilization of an egg, the sex of a bee is decided. The young queen collects the sperm from multiple males, goes around mating flight. The collected sperm is used for the rest of her life. While laying eggs, the queen can choose whether to add sperm to an egg. Fertilized eggs give female bees, while unfertilized eggs give male bees.

Some scientists believe that worker bees are the ones deciding the sex of young bees because they are the ones building cells for those eggs. The size of female and male cells is different, so that is also a deciding factor when choosing the sex of a bee. The cells for female eggs are slightly smaller than cells for male eggs. Worker bees control how many cells of each size they build which also affects which eggs the queen lays.

19. Honey bees are just like us, they love caffeine!

A study from 2015 which was published in the journal Current Biology showed that bees love getting high on caffeine. The biologists had set up two feeders containing a sugar solution and to one of them they added a bit of caffeine. The concentration added was small and can naturally occur in nectar. Bees used in the experiment were from three different hives.

Researchers trained the bees to collect the solution from one of the feeders, same as they would collect nectar. The bees have been observed for three hours and the researchers noticed something interesting.

Honey bees returned to the caffeinated solution more frequently than to the solution without caffeine. Also, the bees modified their waggle dance when they returned to the hive. Usually, the waggle is more frequent the sweeter the nectar.

The effect of caffeine on honey bees is similar to drugging because it tricks them into thinking that the caffeinated forage is more valuable than it actually is. Another effect of caffeine is that bee forage is affected even when there is no caffeine anymore. The day after the experiment, the bees chose the feeder which previously had caffeinated solution even though both feeders were empty this time. Also, bees were less likely to investigate the other feeder.

The willingness to explore other options after the source has been exhausted is a natural adaptive behavior for bees. If one plant has had food then maybe its neighbors might also have food. Such behavior is good for the plant but bad for bees because it makes them overestimate forage quality.

20. Honey bees can detect explosives

For decades military and police have been using dogs to detect explosives, but it seems that dogs got a competition. Honey bees have a strong sense of smell which is comparable to a dog’s sense of smell. Their keen sense of smell helps the bees in finding flowers and choosing the best source of nectar when there is a high number of flowers to choose from. The odorant receptors of honey bees are more powerful than receptors of mosquitoes or fruit flies.

Honey bees can detect molecular hints of pollen in the air so they can just as easily detect traces of other particles in the air, such as materials used to make bombs. They can detect the scent of explosives even at concentrations of two parts per trillion. This is equivalent to finding a grain of sand in a swimming pool. Scientists have found a way to put honey bee’s remarkable scent to good use by training them to detect explosives.

The prototype used in an experiment was a box containing three bees that were previously trained to detect explosives. The training took advantage of probosci’s extension reflex (PER) which is a part of the feeding behavior. This reflex includes the extension of a honey bee’s proboscis (another name for a bee tongue) as a reflex to antennal stimulation.

A box containing three bees had a video camera that monitored bee response. Researchers would bring a box with trained bees close to the object with or without explosives and observed the reaction from bees.

In another experiment, honey bees were trained to swarm at the location of explosives which proved to be effective but only for contained spaces. At first, the bees were tracked visually but in large areas that were problematic. For easier tracking honey bees were fitted with small radio transmitters.

The advantages of training bees for detecting explosives are that bees are easier to take care of, learn quicker, and aren’t easily distracted from their task. Honey bees are versatile. So we must keep up with their information.

21. A honey bee colony is technically immortal

A beehive can be a home to thousands of bees, which always include three castes of bees: the queen, workers, and drones. The lifespan of a bee depends on its caste and the time of year in which it was born. The queen bee has the longest lifespan, while summer worker bees have the shortest lifespan.

Worker bees have duties in and out of the hive. The first part of their life is spent working inside the hive, while the second part is spent finding and gathering nectar and pollen. The workers are the only ones responsible for pollination since the queen doesn’t leave the hive, and drones don’t forage. During winter the colony is not very active so worker bees can live five months or more. In summer honey production is at its high which unfortunately drains the worker bees quicker. Their lifespan in summer is only five to six weeks.

The queen bee has the longest lifespan, she can live 2-3 years. She is responsible for laying eggs. On average the queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day which means that young bees are constantly arriving. This means that a bee colony is continuously growing. If some bee dies, another bee is ready to take her place. If the queen doesn’t lay enough eggs or something happens to her, worker bees will raise another queen to replace her. Since bees are replaced continuously, the colony technically cannot die.

22. Male honey bees are kicked out of the hive when they cannot mate

Male honey bees, which are also called drones, lead a life very differently as compared to that of a worker bee. They are huge in size. They don’t possess a stinger. They cannot store pollen. They are physically not capable to do work around the hive. Their two jobs in the beehive include- eating and mating.

Since queens are produced only when the weather is nice enough, in cold weather drones are unable to perform their primary function – mating. In winter drones only use up the resources while not providing anything to the beehive, so they are kicked out. Also, honey bees stop rearing drones until the days get warmer and flowers start to bloom. As a part of the preparation for the winter, it is not uncommon to see dead drones in the grass or drones being dragged out of beehive by worker bees.

In the height of the summer, the drone population is at its highest. They need a lot of resources, so drones are kept with the colony only if the resources are abundant. Because of this, a population of drones can indicate issues with the colony. One of honey bee facts is that healthy colonies should have many drones in summer as that shows that there is plenty of food for the bees. If drones are kicked out during summer, that can indicate issues within the hive, such as not having enough food.

23. Honey bee attack smells like bananas!

Bees communicate in many different ways, but one of them is truly surprising. We are well-aware of the fact that many animals make use of pheromones in communication, and bees are no different.

Pheromones with a little special something are alert pheromones, pheromones that smell like bananas. These pheromones are released either by a sting or by honey bee opening the sting chamber and protruding the stinger.

When one bee attacks, other bees will soon follow because of pheromones. When a honey bee stings a threat, it gets marked by pheromones which tell other bees to attack. This is an effective way of dealing with threats which can easily win over a single bee. But nothing can fight the colony which can have thousands of bees.

Beekeepers are very familiar with the scent of alarm pheromones and know the importance of having a bee smoker ready. The smoker confuses the bees and masks their pheromones, so they aren’t as aggressive. Beekeepers are often advised to avoid using products with the banana scent because it could trigger an attack.

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