Honey Bee Facts
–Honey Bees have been around longer than humans – there is fossil evidence from 150 million years ago!
-The ancient Egyptians used honey as food and medicine.
-The Egyptians used it in offerings and for embalming the dead.
-Beeswax was used in magic rites, for preserving and also in medicine.
-Today, honey is believed to have health benefits.
-Humans have been seeking out bees for honey for a long time!
-Mesolithic rock paintings in caves near Valencia, Spain, show honey hunters at work.
-These paintings are believed to date back 6 000 years.
-Honey can be fermented to make a type of wine, called ‘mead’
-Earliest evidence for the production of mead is from Nothern China and dates back to about 7 000 BC.
-In 1791, during the French Revolution, the government demanded a record of all hives. Honey was used as a source of tax revenue.
About Honey Bees
–A typical honey bee colony may have around 50 000 workers
-The queen honey bee is about twice the length of a worker
-Only female honey bees sting, the males do not
-If the queen honey bee is removed from the hive, within 15 minutes, the rest of the colony know about it
-A honey bee queen may lay as many as 1000 eggs per day as she established her colony
-Honey bees communicate through pheromones passed on through feeding. This is called ‘trophallaxis’
-Drones (male honey bees) die after mating. Poor things!
-Once honey bee eggs hatch into worker larvae, they’ll be fed around 1300 times per day!
-Foraging bees have to fly about 55 000 miles to produce a pound of honey, visiting around 2 million flowers.
-Honey bees fly up to 15 mph & beat their wings 200 times per second or 12 000 beats per minute!
-Each honey bee makes about 1 twelth of a teaspoon of honey it its life time. Find out how bees make honey here.
-The honey bee is the only insect that produces a food eaten by man.
-Worldwide there are 10 types of honey bee, and one hybrid – the africanized bee.
-The honey bee is one of the most studied creatures in the world after man!
-Honey bees are descendents of wasps.
-Honey bees belong to the insect order ‘Hymenoptera’
-The honey bee queen should certainly live 2 to 4 years, drones live for 4 – 6 months and worker honey bees raised in the spring may only live 6 to 7 weeks
-The waggle dance is performed by a honey bee to inform the rest of the workers about the location, quantity and quality of nectar.
-As with other types of bees, honey bees have 5 eyes: 3 simple eyes on top of its head, 2 compound eyes with numerous hexagonal facets.