bee collecting nectar

48 Fun Facts About Bees & Honey You Need To Know

Last updated on December 14th, 2023 at 05:22 pm

Here are 45 scientifically backed fascinating bee facts that might surprise you!

Number 20 could mean life or death for our tiny little friends.

  1. Unique Eyewitness: Bees have five eyes – two large compound eyes and three smaller ocelli eyes in the centre of their head for detecting light intensity.
  2. Speedy Flyers: Bees fly around 15-20 miles per hour at their fastest.
  3. High Altitude Flyers: They can also fly higher than Mount Everest.
  4. Serious Honey Money: A jar of Elvish Honey will set you back a whopping $6,886 per kg!
  5. Specialized Pollen Baskets: Bees have a unique basket on their hind legs to help them collect and transport pollen.
  6. Ancient Right: In 1215, the Magna Carta (a book of laws in medieval England) allowed common folk to keep bees. An activity previously reserved for royalty.
  7. Incredible Lifespan Variance: A queen bee can live up to five years, whereas a worker bee only lives for about six weeks during the busy summer months.
  8. Remarkable Memory: Bees have excellent spatial memory and remember the locations of hundreds of flowers to forage.
  9. Training Bees: Bees can be trained to associate the smell of explosives with food. In controlled environments, bees are exposed to the scent of explosives and rewarded with sugar water. 
  10. Temperature Controllers: Bees can regulate the hive’s temperature, even creating a ‘bee heater’ effect in winter.
  11. Bees In Space: In 1984, bees were sent into space for a fascinating zero-gravity experiment on the space shuttle Challenger.
  12. Diverse Species: There are over 20,000 different species of bees worldwide.
  13. Male Bees – Drones: Male bees, known as drones, have no stinger and do not collect pollen or nectar.
  14. Vital Crop Pollinators: About one-third of our food relies directly or indirectly on bee pollination.
  15. Bee Revival: You can help a tired bee with a teaspoon of sugar water or our handy bee revival kit.
  16. Bee Bread: Inside the hive, bees create a mixture of pollen and honey known as “bee bread”, which serves as their primary source of protein.
  17. Wing Beat Frequency: A bee’s wings beat approximately 200 times per second.
  18. Medical Wonders: By exposing bees to specific odours and rewarding them, you can quickly train bees to identify several diseases that occur in humans.
  19. Beeswax Production: Bees produce beeswax from glands on their abdomen, which are used to build honeycomb structures.
  20. Honey Is Bad For Bees: A teaspoon of honey is always bad for a tired, thirsty bee. Harmful bacteria and diseases from other honey can be carried back to their nest.
  21. Sensitive to Electricity: Bees can sense the electric fields of flowers, which helps them find pollen-rich blooms.
  22. Night Bees: Some bees, like the Megalopta, are nocturnal and can navigate in the dark.
  23. Only Female Bees Sting: Only female honey bees (worker bees and the queen) have stingers.
  24. Beekeeping Isn’t Always A Good Thing: Lots of domestic honey bees in an area make it hard for native solitary bees to compete for resources.
  25. Water Collectors: Bees also collect water to help regulate the temperature and humidity of the hive.
  26. Queen’s Exclusive Diet: The queen bee exclusively eats royal jelly.
  27. Bee Navigation: Bees use the sun as a compass to navigate, even on cloudy days.
  28. Hive Decision Making: When a hive becomes too crowded, bees create a new queen, and the old queen leaves with half the colony to form a new hive.
  29. Distinctive Personalities: Research suggests individual bees have unique personalities, with some showing more adventurous traits than others.
  30. Bee Venom Therapy: Bee venom has been studied for its medicinal properties, including potential treatments for arthritis and high blood pressure.
  31. Bee ‘Midwives’: Attendant bees help the queen during the birthing process, a fascinating behaviour in the insect world.
  32. Bee Navigation Skills: Bees use landmarks to navigate and can learn to recognize specific features in their environment.
  33. Propolis Production: Bees create a resinous substance called propolis, which has antibacterial properties and is used to seal small gaps in the hive.
  34. Bee Hibernation: Some species of bees, or their queens, hibernate during the winter.
  35. Bee Sleep Patterns: Bees sleep between five and eight hours daily and have a rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase.
  36. Hygienic Behavior: Some bees exhibit hygienic behaviour by removing diseased or dead larvae from the hive, which is crucial for maintaining colony health.
  37. Bee ‘Pharmacists’: Bees choose specific types of nectar with medicinal properties to protect the hive’s health.
  38. Selective Pollination: Bees are selective pollinators, often preferring certain flowers over others.
  39. Bee Language Complexity: The bee waggle dance, once thought simple, is a highly sophisticated and complex form of communication.
  40. Bee Lifespan Factors: The lifespan of a bee can be influenced by when it hatches; winter bees live much longer than those hard-working summer bees.
  41. Bees and Biodiversity: Bees contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity by pollinating various plants.
  42. Bee Population Dynamics: Bee populations are dynamic and can fluctuate significantly yearly based on environmental conditions.
  43. Bee Sensory Perception: Bees have an acute sense of smell, which they use to detect nectar and pheromones.
  44. Bee Color Vision: Bees can see colours, but their spectrum includes more ultraviolet and less red than humans can see.
  45. Impact of Pesticides: Studies have shown that certain pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, can harm bee health and behaviour.
  46. Bees as Bioindicators: Bees are considered bioindicators, meaning their health and behaviour can indicate broader environmental conditions.
  47. Bee’s Contribution to Food Security: Bees play a significant role in global food security due to their pollination services for many crops.
  48. Thermal Regulation in Hives: Bees actively regulate the temperature in their hive, keeping it around 95°F (35°C), which is ideal for brood-rearing.

Don’t forget to check our our other reads below packed with more fascinating looks at one of nature’s most incredible insects, the bee!

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