The Buzz About Honeybees

I love honey. It is the only food that contains all the substances necessary to sustain life. It only comes from honeybees, who are interesting creatures. Most of us know that they live in hives and that we need to be careful of their stingers. Recently it was discovered that they exhibit emotions... the only invertebrate known to do so. Want to learn more?

There are three classifications of honeybees. There is the queen who does nothing but lay eggs. The workers do all the work. The work they do depends upon their age. The drones do nothing but wait for an opportunity to mate with the queen.

The bee colony begins in the spring with around ten to fifteen thousand bees. That number grows until there are as many as sixty thousand in the summer.

A honeybee's wings stroke about 200 times per second or 11,400 per minute. That is what makes the buzzing sound.

Honeybees are not native to North America. They were brought from Europe by early settlers to the United States.

Worker bees live for 4 to 9 months in the winter. In the summer, when they are more active, they live about 6 weeks. They literally work themselves to death.

The worker is the only member of the hive that stings and then only when it feels threatened. When a human is stung, the barbed stinger dislodges from the bee and the bee dies.

In its lifetime a single bee produces about one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey. Approximately 60 pounds of honey are needed to sustain the hive over the winter.

Honeybees have been around longer than humans. Fossil evidence from more than 150 million years ago has been found.

The venom in a bee sting has been used to treat arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The queen can live up to four years. She mates only once in her lifetime. She stores enough sperm to fertilize the 1 to 2 thousand eggs she lays each day of her life.

The ideal spacing between honeycombs is 3/8 of an inch. It is called "bee space".

Honeybees have five eyes. There are two compound eyes, one on each side of the head, and three simple eyes on top of the head.

The most important function of honeybees is pollination. They are responsible for pollinating 80% of all fruit, vegetable, and seed crops in the United States.

Honeybees cannot see the color red. It appears as black to them. They will visit red flowers when they can see the U.V. patterns in them.

Honeybees are the only insect that makes a food that is eaten by humans.

Bees communicate with each other by dancing. They can give directions, issue warnings, indicate where flowers are, and many other pieces of information.

There are so many more fascinating facts about bees. I do not have room for all of them. If you would like to learn more, I have provided some links below.

Honeybees Might Have Emotions
Backyard Beekeepers Association
Straight From The Farm
Basic Honeybee Facts
Benefits of Honey


  1. Great article Emma. Honey bees are fascinating. I started photographing them about two years ago and the more photos I took the more I wanted to know.

    We have a patch of raspberries in our backyard and in the spring the honeybees are all over it. They don't seem to mind my presence and have never stung me.

  2. George and I had a look in our hive recently. The bees are doing well with honey production. Time to rob some I think.

  3. To SqirrelQueen: Thank you for commenting. I learned so much while researching this. It is a fascinating subject.

    To Don't Unplug Your Hub: I like fresh honey too. Chewing the comb is the best part. My uncle raised bees. He was arthritic and his doctor told him to let them sting him. It did help. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Some fascinating facts......Thanks for the links so I can find out more!

  5. To Allotments4you: Thank you for your comments.

  6. I usually stop when I see a bee frolicking with the flowers, I am somehow amused with them how hardworking they are and so focused you can not disturb them, especially if they are so engrossed with the flower. Very good information, I did not know honeybees are not native to US. I've heard about the health benefits of honey, actually, we like its taste, just very little, it sweetens a lot already, thus we drink honey lemonade everyday.

  7. To Betchai: Thank you for commenting. Honey is a natural sweetener. If your body can deal with sweeteners, honey is a good tasting way to make foods taste better. There are warnings however. Children apparently can develop problems so research that before giving honey to the little ones.


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