Fun Facts on Honey Bees

Honeybees are social insects, living in complex societies with divisions of labor and generations living together harmoniously.

A Queen Bee can lay up to 2,500 eggs every day and her “attendants” collect nectar throughout the day for feed her hive. In order to produce one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited daily.

1. They have five eyes

Honey bees are impressive insects, capable of traversing the world and gathering resources their colonies require for survival. To do this effectively, they require keen vision from both sets of eyes on a honey bee, each serving different purposes while coming together as one source to provide the information required to complete their tasks successfully.

Bees’ eyes are situated at the front of their heads, just above their antennae. Two large compound eyes sit on either side, with three photoreceptors called ocelli located atop. Ocelli are photoreceptors which detect light intensity and direction; multi-faceted compound eyes contain 6,900 tiny lenses called an Ommatidium each of which contains photosensitive cells; each lens sends small images directly to its brain for interpretation; thus honey bee eyes can easily recognize patterns, polarized light patterns, colors, motion; honey bee eyes have a vast ability for seeing patterns as well as movement; their senses allow them to detect patterns as well as motion;

Bees use their vision to identify flowers for pollination. They can detect UV iridescence on flower petals, as well as differentiate among scents to find those best suited. When another bee visits one flower, its visitor can use its waggle dance to alert its colony that something special has happened there.

Bees use their eyes as an aid during flight to navigate correctly; using information provided from its compound eyes to line itself up correctly with the sun as it flies back toward its hive even on windy days.

Bees use their eyes to vote for new nest sites! Female scout bees will fly out and inspect potential locations before reporting back with their signature waggle dance and giving an enthusiastic dance to indicate which sites may be promising – this way more worker bees may agree that it is an excellent location and copy the dance of their leader scout bee, casting their vote in favor of it and beginning building.

2. They have a waggle dance

Honey bee waggle dances are an intriguing way for worker bees to inform their sisters of great food sources. Each bee’s dance indicates its direction and, to some extent, distance to this source; speed of dance also gives an indicator as to the quality of food source as does length of waggle run.

The dance communicates these important details about a food source through its use of a figure-eight pattern with an undulation in the middle. If a bee finds a food source, she will perform a round dance to inform her sisters, before starting her waggle dance – wherein she walks in circles before turning around multiple times before walking back in another circle; all while wiggling her abdomen sideways as in an eight pattern.

Once she finishes dancing, her sisters will follow the path she indicated toward their food source. The more intensely she wiggles, the higher their chance is of finding sustenance. The length and deviation from straight upward of the dance indicates its distance to it as well.

Honey bees communicate using intricate dances like this one to pass information between one another. Their language provides for precise communication of every kind.

Bees use more than their dance to communicate information: their sense of smell can reveal food sources. Furthermore, their dances convey details such as water availability or resin production as well as suitable nest sites (during swarming).

Bees are highly organized insects, or “eusocial insects”, meaning that they live in highly-organized societies characterized by division of labor, cooperation in rearing offspring and multiple generations cohabitating one home. Due to these traits, bees make for fascinating research subjects; indeed researchers are currently developing ways of replicating their famous “waggle dance.” In the meantime, visiting a nearby beehive is an excellent way to gain more insights into this fascinating insect!

3. They have a brain the size of a poppy seed

Like most animals, bees possess a complex nervous system to facilitate proper body functions. But unlike larger animals like humans, bee brains don’t reside centrally – rather, it is spread throughout their bodies in seven nerve ganglia or collections; two in the head region, two thorax regions and three abdomen regions.

Bees possess an astoundingly vast intellect despite the size of their tiny brains. This may be in part due to living in eusocial insect societies which require them to coordinate activities and exchange information among members, such as where pollen-filled flowers are found or nearby dangers. Bees also perform many jobs throughout their short lives: foraging for food, tending young larvae, cleaning their hive regularly by beating wings and performing various other societal duties.

Scientists have long studied bee brains to better understand how they manage so much with such limited resources. Micro-CT scanning allows scientists to look deep inside bee heads in incredible detail; providing hundreds of images slices that can then be assembled together into one 3D model of its natural habitat.

Researchers quickly discover that bee brains contain numerous neuron types. Olfactory receptor neurons (blue) send information directly into the brain via antennal nerve (AN). Their synapses connect with local interneurons in olfactory lobes as well as projection neurons (PN) that project either to input region of mushroom bodies or the lateral horn and may either be excitatory or inhibitory in nature.

The lateral horn of the brain is responsible for motor control, visual processing, memory, as well as processing sensory input such as sound and vibration; it plays a vital role in orienting in space and communicating with other bees within a hive. Another major area is the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which plays an essential role in social cognition, decision making, reinforcement learning and reinforcement learning.

4. They have a stinger

Honey bees belong to the subfamily Apini and are social insects known for producing and storing liquid sugar known as honey. These social insects construct large nests from beeswax secreted by workers in their colonies, known as beehives. Honey bees also play an integral part in pollination; turning nectar into crops like apples, bananas, avocados and peaches which all play their part in maintaining our food supply.

Bees communicate through special movements known as “waggle dances.” These signal to other members of their hive where a potential source of pollen or nectar lies; additionally they rely on scent to locate food, water and other resources. Honey bees, like other social insects, can be divided into three different kinds of individuals: workers, drones and the queen. Workers are female sterile workers that perform crucial duties for the colony such as foraging for food and building the hive while cleaning and circulating air by flapping their wings to circulate air flow. Drones are male bees without stingers that serve to carry pollen and feed their hive. Meanwhile, queen bees – fertile female bees that lay eggs – form new colonies by laying eggs and mating with other bees in the hive; she has barbed stingers which she may use if necessary to defend the colony from danger.

Honey bees often consider any situation they consider dangerous as a source of threat; when this occurs, muscle contractions in their abdomen trigger deployment of their stinger which connects to a venom sac filled with alarm or “deterrent” proteins which cause vertebrates (human) victims pain and even cause them to perish.

The stinger itself features a shaft with two lancets that move together in cooperative alternative motion to deliver venom to its victim instantly through a canal in its structure.

Once removed from a bee, its barbed stinger remains embedded in victim skin. For this reason, it is critical to quickly scrape it off rather than pinching, which may forcefully inject venom into skin tissue and potentially result in more serious consequences for victims.

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