INTERESTING BEE FACTS!
Getting to know bees
As we are now full swing into spring, I'd like to share a few interesting facts about an insect that has recently been voted the most important species on the earth (and with very good reason).... the humble bee!
Did you know that the buzzing sound that bees make is actually from their wings beating?
Bee wings can beat up to 11,400 times per minute!
They are amazing flyers and with wings like theirs how could they not be? Bees can fly at a top speed of up to 25kms an hour!
Food For Thought
Bees are also the only insects known to produce food that we can eat.
Bees have been making honey the exact same way for over 150 million years.
Historically, honey has also been used as wound dressings for minor cuts, grazes and burns as honey has great antiseptic properties.
All the worker bees are females. They collect the pollen and nectar, build and protect the hive, they clean and circulate the air by beating their wings and work together to maintain the hive at a constant temperature.
The male bees are called drones and their main purpose is to breed.
There can be a large number of drones in the hive at any given time, unless it's winter when they are kicked out to conserve resources.
Although the queen bee can live up to 5 years, she can produce up to 2,500 eggs per day in the summer.
When the queen bee dies, the worker bees will create a new queen by choosing a newly hatched larvae & feeding it "Royal Jelly" to make her fertile.
A Keen Sense Of Smell
Bees have 170 odorant receptors and use their antennae to smell. They use these receptors to communicate within the hive.
Not only can the workers recognise different types of flowers and other pollen rich foods with their antennae, but drones use their odorant receptors to detect the queen bee from up to 60 metres away.
Do A Little Dance
When bees find a great source of pollen or nectar, they go back to the hive and communicate this to all the other bees by doing a special dance. This dance is called “The Waggle Dance”, they move in a series of figure-eights and waggle their bodies to show which direction to go for the best food source.
It's not hard to see why these amazing little creatures were named the most important species in the world, and if we don’t start to look after them our whole ecosystem will collapse.
Bees are our best pollinators, with 1 out of 3 of the foods we eat being pollinated by bees.
Unfortunately, colonies of bees have been disappearing and we really don't understand why. It's referred to as "colony collapse disorder", with billions of bees around the world leaving their hives for no apparent reason, never to return. In some areas up to 90% of bees have disappeared.
We can help encourage the bees to stay by planting flowers rich in nectar, like lavender, honey myrtle and native rosemary to name just a few.
We can also help to protect bees by not using toxic pesticides in or around the home and garden.
We hope you found some of this information interesting! Let us know in the comments if you you've got more interesting bee facts to share!