Interesting Bee Facts

interesting bee facts

In addition to making mead I enjoy teaching people about bees, so much so I also run beginner beekeeping classes every few weeks. Here we go with some of the most interesting bee facts.

Workers bees only live for 6 weeks during peak seasons. Queen bees can live up to 5 years. Worker bees can also live for 5 years doing nothing all day kept in a lab environment, it’s the constant work that makes them only last 6 weeks.

Queen bee
Queen bee in the middle

Whether an egg becomes a worker or a Queen depends on the size of the cell it grows up in. If a normal-sized hexagon it will be a worker, if an extra-large size it will become a Queen. If an unfertilised egg, it will become a male drone. Drone cells are bigger than worker cells but not as big as Queen cells. The Queen can choose to lay a drone egg if she measures the cell to be a drone cell.

Smoke makes the bees think there is a fire so instead of attacking the beekeeper they will prioritise drinking as much honey as they can because they think they might have to leave soon. The smoke also masks their emergency pheremone that would normally frenzy the bees to attack.

bee smoker

Bees hate black and will target you if you’re wearing dark clothes, black socks for instance. This is believed to be instinctual due to most big and black things in nature will be the bees predators (black bears)

Bees don’t breathe through their mouth, instead, they have valves in their segmented bodies, which they move like a piano accordion to pump air in and out.

Bees communicate distance and direction to a food source they’ve found by doing a dance called the waggle dance. They will vibrate their body whilst moving in a direction. The intensity of the vibration dictates distance and the direction they are walking while doing the dance dictates the direction in relation to the sun.

It takes 4 million of flowers just to make 1kg of honey. A bee will visit 7000 flowers a day.

The Queen can lay up to 2000 eggs a day!

Bees have 4 wings, when in flight the wings link together to appear like only 2 wings.

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