There are countless fascinating facts about honey bees. Not only do they produce honey and pollinate flowers, they have the ability to fly over 400 meters and have 170 odorant receptors!
By studying their wings, bees can tell whether or not they’re males or females and also use dance languages to communicate where food can be found.
1. They have 2 stomachs
Bees possess two stomachs. One serves to digest food while the other stores nectar and water; without this additional stomach, bees would not have the capability of creating honey for us all to enjoy!
On a typical collection trip, honey bees visit between 50 to 100 flowers and collect pollen and nectar before transporting it back to their hive where it will then be turned into honey and stored in wax jars.
A typical beehive consists of one queen, thousands of female worker bees and hundreds of male drones – each working together to take care of larvae, build comb and keep the hive tidy while drones with no stingers exist solely to mate with the queen bee.
Bees possess a long tongue with pipe-like structures to scoop up pollen or nectar from nearby flowers. Their tongue also serves to pierce and remove insect stingers that have punctured skin punctures with barbed stingers which release toxic venom once punctured by punctured needles or barbs, bees possess 170 receptors for scent detection, as well as two large compound eyes with over 7000 lenses each in them – their eyes boast 170 receptors to detect smell.
Bees don’t naturally know how to make honey; therefore, they must learn from older bees in their hive. Their wings beat at 200 times per second to create that signature buzz we all recognize; bees do not actually possess knees; rather their leg joints function more like hinges than actual knee joints; however they have flat feet which help them navigate uneven ground.
2. They have 2 sexes
At school we learned that when female bees lay an egg, its fate will either be worker or queen status. This phenomenon occurs due to haplodiploidy – honey bees use two sets of chromosomes from each parent and may produce any type of offspring; unlike most insects who rely on fertilization to determine gender identity and produce only female offspring.
Honey bees possess three castes of bees: queen, worker and drone. The queen lays all the eggs for reproduction within her hive – up to 2,000 per day – while female workers serve as its backbone – collecting pollen to building combs; male bees rarely contribute anything tangible towards its growth or food source.
Bees determine their sex through fertilization or non-fertilization of their eggs, with mating flights producing female offspring while unfertilized eggs produced by virgin queens that have not taken mating flights yield only male drones; male drones possess 16 chromosomes from their queen mother and zero from the sperm, making them haploid.
Researchers conducted a study where they modified male bees so that only Fem protein, involved in sexual determination, but without its companion gene (dsx), which controls gonad type. As expected, these bees displayed small gonads similar to wild-type workers; suggesting that dsx gene plays an essential role in maintaining normal male bee gonad size.
3. They have 3 ocelli
Honey bees are truly remarkable insects; they’re one of the only insects with an organized social structure consisting of queen and worker bees living under one roof, producing approximately one-twelfth of a teaspoon’s worth of honey every year while pollinating 2 trillion plants worldwide! Yet their numbers continue to decline due to factors like parasites, climate change and pesticide use.
Bees possess fascinating eyes. One interesting bee fact regarding their eyes is that they have hexagonal patterns similar to honeycomb cells. Additionally, bees possess three extra eyes known as ocelli that allow them to see in ultraviolet light – scientists have demonstrated this feature’s capability of interpreting sunlight polarization patterns and detecting colors.
Honey bees possess not only an ocelli, but also two compound eyes on the front of their heads for detection and location of nectar and pollen sources while flying, but they can also use this set of compound eyes to judge wind speed and direction when returning home after foraging for nectar or pollen sources. Honey bees use these compound eyes both during foraging expeditions as well as returning back to their hives after foraging for nectar or pollen sources.
Bee eyes can be very dangerous. Bees have stingers that can inject up to 12ths of gallons of venom into their victims during each stinging process; when pulled back and forth between lancets containing acid glands squirt their poison into poison canals as lancet ends are expanded and pulled apart again and again.
Once the bee stinger becomes embedded in its victim, it pumps out enough venom to kill him or her, which is why you should never attempt to remove a bee’s stinger yourself; otherwise it will continue pumping poison until pulled out by one of its fellow bees in its hive.
4. They have a waggle dance
Honey bees use the “waggle dance” to inform their fellow worker bees of the location of a flower patch. Each bee possesses a special sensory cell called a scolopidium which has bipolar cilia which detect mechanical vibrations from surrounding sources and then convert them to electrical impulses that can be detected by neurons located in their antenna (known as Jacobson’s Organ, or JO).
Bees perform the waggle dance by moving forward quickly while rapidly shaking their abdomens, sending signals back to their hive mates about where the flower is located, the angle and duration of their run indicate how close to food source it is, while intensity shows just how tasty their meal may be.
Bees often use their wings to convey messages by vibrating in an alternating left and right pattern, which vibrates the pollen grains, drawing them toward her body as she flies, then picking it up with her feet when moving. This method attracts pollen grains which then stick to her hairs before being collected by her feet while flying.
Though communication may appear complex, its significance for hive success cannot be underestimated. Studies have demonstrated that bees that cannot locate food will forego eating it altogether or come back later when necessary – especially important when the weather turns cold or wet and foraging becomes difficult.
5. They have a brain the size of a poppy seed
Honey bee brains may seem small, but their minds can perform complex tasks with ease and contain up to one million times more information than human minds can store.
Bees use this small organ as a superorganism to support their survival, working alongside its rest of body to feed pollen to flowers for later collection and use. They possess five eyes: two large compound eyes and three simple (ocelli) in the center of their head – used to detect polarized and ultraviolet sunlight from the sun to locate plants; all colors except red are visible through these extra eyes which also serve to identify ripe plants more easily.
Bees communicate information about food sources by performing a waggle dance that indicates their direction and distance from their hive. Other bees understand this “dance language”, as have researchers using its use as a test of how effective certain pesticides were.
One of the most fascinating bee facts is that, much like humans, bees can either be optimists or pessimists. While optimists work themselves into exhaustion while pessimists may doze off. Pessimistic ones tend to procrastinate more often and may succumb faster if exposed to certain contaminants such as cocaine.
Bees require enormous amounts of energy to produce honey, which explains their diminutive brain size. However, unlike most insects, their brain does not age over time, meaning if given a new task it will learn instantly. Furthermore, bees spend their nights motionless to conserve energy; during these nights they produce approximately one-twelfth teaspoon worth of honey each night.