Bees are very important to man. For many years now bees have produced honey and pollinated crops. A third of the crops we consume are pollinated by these very busy insects as well as pollinators like them. Here are a few of our favorite honey bee facts.
- Ability to fly at a speed of up to 15 miles in an hour.
In the bug world this speed is actually very slow. Honey bees travel for short distances that is, from one flower to another flower. In a minute, their tiny wings must flap for about 120,000 times. This helps to keep their bodies to maintain the pollen gathered as their go home.
- Queen bee has a store of sperm for a lifetime.
Queen bees have the ability to live for 3 to 4 years. One week after she emerges from the queen cell, she flies to mate. She must mate within 20 days, after which she loses the ability to mate. However if she mates, she does not need to mate ever again. This is because the sperm is held in her spermtheca from where she will use it when fertilizing eggs in her entire lifetime.
- A queen bee lays around 1500 eggs in a day
The chore of laying eggs by the queen starts some 48 hours later after mating. In a single day, the queen bee can produce eggs that are equal to her own body weight. This means that she has no other tasks. The queen bee has attendant workers that feed and groom her,.
- A colony can have up to 60,000 bees.
The bee colonies are like the today’s community where everybody has a role to play. A bee colony has a queen bee who is attended to by the nursing bees. The nurse bees also take care of the young. Construction workers build the foundation where the queen will lay her eggs using beeswax while guard bees offer protection to the hive. Foragers ensure there is enough pollen for the whole community and undertakers remove dead bees.
- Worker bees have a short lifespan
Given that the worker bees can visit 2000 flowers a day in shifts of 50 -100 to and from the hive, it lives up to three weeks. These worker bees literally work themselves to death flying to gather food and resources for the hive. During these foraging flights, they’re exposed to predators, weather conditions, and even pest control measures.
- Male honey bees
The male honey bees’ purpose is to mate after which they die. In an ironic ways it is the female honey bees that do most of the tasks design for the male bees. The bee community works in reverse order.