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Honey Bee Facts

Abhijit Naik
Did you know that honey bees identify their colonies by a unique odor. Join us as we embark on a journey into the fascinating world of honey bees and find more interesting facts about them.
Honey bees are insects which are primarily distinguished by their capacity to produce and store honey in their colonial nests, known as beehives. An average honey bee colony can consist of around 20,000 - 60,000 bees and the queen bee.

Interesting Facts about Honey Bees

  • The honey bee, which has been around for about 30 million years, is the only insect which produces food that is consumed by humans.
  • The worker honey bees, all of which are females, have an average lifespan of 6 - 8 weeks. All the tedious work in a bee colony is done by these female bees.
  • The worker honey bee's brain, which is only about a cubic mm, has the densest neuropile tissue among the animal species.
  • The male honey bees, known as drones, do not have a sting. They don't indulge in any work in the bee colony, except mating.
  • The lifespan of a queen bee is around 2 - 3 years, a period which is only spent in mating and laying eggs. She can lay up to 2500 eggs a day.
  • The queen bee is the only sexually developed female in a bee colony, a unique characteristic which can be attributed to a special diet of royal jelly.
  • The royal jelly is a milky substance made from digested pollen and honey, mixed with a chemical which is secreted from a gland in the nursing bee's head.
  • Honey bees produce wax from the glands located at the underside of their abdomen. This beeswax is used by the bees to build a honey comb. Humans use it to prepare drugs, furniture polish, candles, etc.
  • In order to produce 1 lb of wax, honey bees have to consume around 17 - 20 lbs of honey.
  • Only worker bees possess stings, which they use when they are threatened. A honey bee can use its sting only once, as it dies after it stings. Around 1100 honey bee stings are needed for a bee attack to be fatal for humans.
  • The queen bee also has a sting, but she never leaves the hive, not even to help defend it from intruders.
  • Irrespective of what the temperature is outside, honey bees maintain the temperature of the beehive between 92 and 93 °F.
  • A honey bee strokes its wings at a tremendous speed of 11,400 times per minute. This helps to produce the unique bee buzz we get to hear when it flies.
  • A honey bee can fly at the speed of 15 mph. It is also known to venture as far as 6 miles to collect nectar from flowers.
  • A single colony of honey bees collects approximately 66 lb of pollen every year. However, an average honey bee only gathers 0.0288 ounces of honey in its lifetime.
  • While collecting nectar, a honey bee visits approximately 50 - 100 flowers every day. It take approximately 556 worker bees to visit around 2 million flowers to gather one lb of honey.
  • One of the purest and most nutritious natural food, pollen contains proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, enzymes, minerals, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, CH, and R.
  • The difference in the flavor and color of honey depends on the source of nectar.
  • Microbes cannot sustain in honey and hence, it is used as medicine, especially for dressing wounds. The royal jelly is also used by humans as dietary supplement and fertility booster.
  • Though herbivores, some species of honey bees are known to cannibalize their own brood when strained.
  • Minute amount of venom is present in a honey bee sting. It most often triggers sharp pain, but can also prove to be allergic to some humans. Bee venom therapy is quite often used to cure problems like arthritis and neuralgia.
One of the most productive insect species, honey bees have provided humans with useful amenities such as honey and wax since ages. Owing to this, honey bee farming has become a flourishing business around the world. While these were a few facts that we have been able to study so far, there must be many more which we are yet come across.