Fact Sheet





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.

The Facts

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.