HONEY BEE FACTS 1

Bee Family cartoon copyright 1981

Bee Family and Baby Bee

HONEY BEES ARE NOT NATIVE TO THE UNITED STATES
They were imported by Europeans in the early 1600’s to America.  But they are native to many other parts of the world, including the Middle East.  For over 150 million years they have been making honey all over the world.

HONEY BEES ARE VEGETARIAN
They eat honey, pollen, nectar, and royal jelly.  Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are carnivorous, and eat other insects.  They also are a lot more touchy and stingy.

BEE VENOM is acidic.  Wasp, hornets and the like have alkaline venom.  It still hurts no matter . . .

HONEY BEES AREN’T MEAN
They protect their food, queen, babies, and home from predators.  Foraging and swarming bees aren’t apt to sting unless you bother or step on them.  If you make them angry they will normally only chase you about 50 feet. Bees on or in a hive will guard and protect the hive and their family, and they post guard bees for this purpose.  The hive contains their young and the queen, and also all the food they have stored over the summer to feed them in winter.  Without any of those they would not survive.  I think I’d protect that!

HONEY BEES DIE AFTER STINGING PEOPLE – BUT . . .
When they sting and die they give off a smell that alerts other bees that an enemy is around.  They are much more likely to attack and sting if they smell this.  Don’t squish bees, they take it personally.

HONEY BEES LIVE FOR 60 DAYS  Except queens, who live much longer I remember someone saying about three times as long as the workers.  Although I have heard the queen can live for up to three years, I cannot confirm that as of today.  Let me know if you know the answer to that.

HONEY BEES HAVE ONE QUEEN (unless another is born)
There can be only one.  If any more are born they have a big fight to the death or one leaves. She can lay over 1500 eggs a day.  Worker bees create new queens by feeding the larvae Royal Jelly, which they produce from special bee glands.

WORKER HONEY BEES ARE FEMALE
Male bees don’t do much work at all, except to date the queen for a short while. In fact they get tossed out of the hive before winter so they won’t eat all the food.  But spring more hatch out.

MALE HONEY BEES HAVE NO STINGERS
Yep, that’s right.  You can pick them up with your bare hands and they won’t sting you.  If you can dodge the guard bees while you’re doing it.  They are called DRONES.

HONEY BEES HAVE TWO STOMACHS     (One of them is for nectar and honey)

HONEY BEES HAVE FIVE EYES
They can see ultraviolet light, and red is seen as dark brown or black.  The eyes also have tiny hairs that can detect wind speed and direction.  Some of those eyes are in the top of their heads.

HONEY BEES HAVE FOUR WINGS
Their wings beat over 11,000 times a minute. And they can fly 15 miles an hour.  But if you are being chased you will swear it’s 90 miles an hour.

HONEY BEES HAVE THREE PAIRS OF LEGS
Their legs are used to walk, grasp, clean their antenna (or doorstep, or other bees), carry pollen or propolis (resins from plants they use to close crack in their hives)

A HONEY BEES ANTENNAS
A Honey Bees antenna have sensors that detect odors.  In 2003 some bees were trained by researchers to associate the smell of explosives with food, therefore being able to detect bombs.

HONEY BEES BREATH THROUGH THIER ABDOMENS (stomachs)
This is also why they are so easily poisoned by pesticides.  And why dusty stuff irritates them.  I even feel sheepish using my smoker on them, and do it sparingly.  Sometimes I don’t have to use one.  Sometimes it’s not advisable to use one.  But whenever I omit to bring it to the hives, I always end up going back to get it.  Such as when I accidentally squish a bee or two.  They hate that.  Well, it is murder, even if accidental.

HONEY BEES PRODUCE WAX FROM THEIR BODIES
They exude (push it out) of their abdomens (belly) in flakes.  Then they take the flakes and form them into hexagon shaped cells with their little jaws and legs.  It takes approximately 450,000 of those flakes to make one pound of wax.  I’ve never actually seen them make wax, but I’ve seen pictures.

HONEY BEES ARE AWAKE IN THE WINTER
They huddle together around the queen to keep her warm eating honey for energy.  They need about 70 pounds of honey to survive the winter, and if they run out of honey, they freeze and die.  This is why sometimes beekeepers feed them in the winter if they don’t have enough honey.

HONEY BEES POLLINATE THE FOOD WE EAT
They make help make food for us when they gather pollen and nectar and go from flower to flower.  This places pollen from one plant to another, and fertilizes the plants.  Plants can then make fruit and seeds.

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