Interesting Facts About Honey Bees

Bees have an extraordinary and fascinating history, from their construction of hives to producing mead, this eusocial insect has had a tremendous influence on human society.

Bee hives are bustling cities of activity. Workers perform various duties within their hive including maintaining its temperature, collecting food and pollinating plants as well as protecting and defending the queen bee. In order to produce one pound of honey, bees travel 55,000 miles–that’s like orbiting Earth twice!

1. They have five eyes

Though many of us may assume bees have two eyes, they actually possess five. Two large compound eyes sit atop their head while three smaller eyes called ocelli (Latin for “eyes”). Compound eyes feature multiple lenses connected by retinas for creating images of their surroundings while ocelli have only a single lens with numerous sensory cells to detect movement, light and direction – bees use these sensors for navigation using sun position, as well as perceiving polarised light that penetrates clouds for seeing through storm or fog conditions.

Not content with that alone, bees also possess tiny hairs on their eyeballs that help keep their lenses free of debris and keep the lens clear. Furthermore, these little hairs have also been discovered to sense wind speed and direction; helping bees navigate in windy conditions without getting lost when returning home to their hives.

All these characteristics combine to give bees an incredible sense of sight. This ability proves particularly helpful during flight, where bees can easily identify natural obstacles such as branches or leaves that they would otherwise hit with their wings, as well as predators that might be nearby. Their eyes are so sharp that they can detect movement as rapid as 1/300th of a second – far faster than humans are capable of perceiving! Furthermore, their keen vision helps them detect changes quickly in their environment such as when flowers sway in response to even slightest breeze.

2. They have a waggle dance

Honey bees may conjure images of honey or stings to most non-beekeepers, but few know about their elaborate dance to communicate where food sources lie. Decoded by Karl von Frisch’s research in 1973 (who received the Nobel prize), this dance language encoded both directionally and distance-wise is remarkable precise and can pinpoint food sources with remarkable precision.

To transmit information through a waggle dance, bees clinging to vertical combs of their hive perform a series of movements that mimic her flight path as she flies. The first part of the dance, known as the “waggle run,” indicates where food sources lie while second part, performed at an angle against gravity conveys distance; longer runs indicate greater separation.

As she dances, her body vibrations are translated by an internal clock into electrical signals which are transmitted into the cell walls of her comb by means of an electrical current. Together with visual acuity and plane of polarization of the sun in the sky, these vibrations help bees accurately navigate towards their food source.

Scientists performed an experiment where some bees could observe other bee dancers and found that when new worker bees weren’t given an opportunity to watch older bees’ waggle dances during critical early learning stages, she would develop her own “dialect” of dancing; even though she might still convey direction of food sources accurately enough. Without accessing crucial pieces of information about its location during these crucial early phases, newcomer worker bees might miss important pieces of knowledge regarding its location and may end up developing her own “dialect” of dancing which may leave her vulnerable against predators as newcomers learn new dance moves in these early learning stages of learning from older bees’ dance moves!

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

Honey bee brains may be small compared to those of other animals, but they are highly specialized. Packed with 960,000 neurons and equipped with 170 odorant receptors 50 times more sensitive than that of dogs’, they make bees capable of sensing pollen or food sources during long foraging flights away from the hive.

Bees use their front feet, tongues and jaws to taste things, but their antennae are particularly helpful. Their antennae are packed with taste sensors that detect various flavors. This information is collected and analyzed by their brain along with visual input from large compound eyes. Their ventral nerve cord runs along their entire bodies allowing access to all organs and systems and also serves as a conduit between brain activity and organ systems with numerous ganglia located throughout its length helping coordinate local neural processing.

Bees use beetle mandibles to harvest resins from plants and bark, transporting the material back to their hive in a pollen basket on their hind legs. Inside their hives, worker bees mix these resins with wax, pollen and enzymes to form propolis – an excellent natural waterproofing substance.

Honey bees may be extremely intelligent creatures, yet their lifespans are relatively short. A queen bee may lay up to 2,000 eggs daily and live approximately two years; worker female bees live for six to eight weeks while male drones that cannot sting are kicked out of the hive annually as they do not contribute to its survival.

4. They have a stinger

Honey bees can cause alarm in many, but do we really need to panic if a buzzing insect appears in our garden? Bees typically only sting when provoked or threatened – workers away from their hive foraging for food typically won’t sting unless stepped on or unnecessarily disturbed; otherwise they’d likely keep searching for pollen and nectar instead of getting distracted by humans. Their stinger (in reality a modified ovipositor) serves only defensive purposes retrieved only by female bees (unlike wasps or bumble bees which allow multiple attacks).

Bees attach their stingers to venom sacs that release their contents when stinging; as soon as a bee stings, this content enters your wound through this release mechanism. That is why it is crucial that you remove the stinger as quickly as possible in order to minimize how much venom enters it.

As it flies away, its stinger becomes detached from the venom sac and dangles freely in the air. Unfortunately, soon after being stung by bees, they often die shortly thereafter due to having part of their abdomen torn away when losing its stinger; depending on its size and the wound caused by being stung they could eventually die hours or days after having been exposed to bee venom.

Venom from stingers can be especially hazardous to people who suffer from allergies. Stinger venom can cause painful swelling and itching as well as even lead to life-threatening allergic reactions; to protect oneself against this danger it is advised that long pants and gloves be worn when working outdoors and it should never be approached directly as this would give an attacker time to react before moving in with more bites from beehives, where thousands of inhabitants work tirelessly at maintaining temperature, collecting and transporting food supplies, caring for queen bees as well as protecting their sweet honey treasure trove from attack by outsiders! To help protect oneself against this risk wear long pants and gloves when working outdoors as this will allow more space between beehives than would ever allow as it will prevent attacks from beehives! To make yourself safe wear long pants and gloves when working in yards or gardens where beehives may contain many beehives might contain deadly venom! To help yourself, when approaching beehives you never approach.

5. They have a scent

Honey isn’t only sweetened; it contains enzymes, vitamins and minerals essential for honey bee health. But many don’t realize that honey has its own scent – bees use this aromatic signaling system to communicate among themselves as well as with outsiders – the scent from bees carrying information on nectar sources informs their dance signals to their hive that food sources have been discovered!

Bees use the scent of flowers to find pollen for honey-making and to form their hive, unlike other insects that are drawn in by colors alone. Bees smell the unique odors emanating from individual flowers to determine where pollen may be hiding; their antennae also help them navigate new terrain more efficiently.

Honeybees transform nectar collected by honey bees into honey through enzymes in their salivary glands, using it to build their hives, feed their young, hydrate themselves and store it for later use such as treating wounds or preserving fruit.

Honey bees alone have enough power and longevity to supply grocery stores worldwide with honey production. Take a moment every time you enjoy a spoonful of honey or gaze upon an field of blossoming flowers to appreciate these incredible insects’ efforts – it may just save lives!

Scroll to Top