The Amazing Honey Bee

The Amazing Honey Bee

You know, we really need to feel sorry for the honey bee. Why you ask? Well, because the poor thing is so misunderstood. See, I’m an avid beekeeper and I really feel that we need to appreciate them more than we do. Believe it or not, I’m actually allergic to bee stings, that’s right, but, that does not stop me from appreciating and working with these amazing little creatures. Sure, I have to be careful around them, but just understanding them helps to keep me from getting stung by them. The first thing I learned is that they don’t deliberately set out to hurt us and once we understand that, we won’t get stung as often.

The first thing we need to realize is just how amazing these little creatures are. First off they are known in the scientific community as Apis mellifera which translates to “honey-carrying bee” and they have been around for millions of years. They are also one of the most environmentally friendly little insects in the world and they are the key pollinators of the world.

Did you know that the tiny bee is the only insect in the world that actually produces food that we can eat. That’s right, the honey that it produces is the only food edible by man that’s created by an insect that so many of us are afraid of. Honey is a food that has all the different substances that is needed to sustain life such as enzymes, water, different minerals as well as vital vitamins important to keeping us healthy. It also contains antioxidants that are associated with actually improving the functions of the human brain. P

Here’s a few facts about the little honey bee about their make up. Bees have six little legs and two very compound eyes that have thousands and thousands of little lenses. Each eye is located on each side of their heads, however, I bet you didn’t know that they also have three simple eyes that are located on the tops of their heads. They also have two wings, a pouch for nectar and a small stomach. They also have 170 odor receptors, this is a ton when you consider that the average fruit fly only has 62 and mosquitoes have only 79. This gives them extremely sensitive smelling abilities along with incredible recognition abilities that include social communications within the bee hive and odor recognition abilities for finding a variety of foods. They can smell so good that they can differentiate between hundreds of different kinds of flowers and they can tell if the flower carries pollen or nectar from miles away.

The honey bee has extremely fast wings as well. They can actually beat up to 200 beats per second and that is what makes their famous little buzz we hear all the time. They can also fly as far as six miles away from their hives and up to 15mph.

It’s also interesting to note that the average little worker bee only produces 1/12th T-spoon of honey in it’s entire life and the entire hive can be known to fly 90,000 miles in order to get just 1kg of honey. Did you know that equals three orbits around the earth? Pretty amazing huh? And it takes one ounce of that honey to fuel one single bee’s trip around the earth.

Even though the size of a bee’s brain is the same size as a sesame see it is still intelligent enough to learn as well as remember many different things and it’s also able to do complex calculations on traveling distances and efficiency for foraging for food.

The hives queen can actually live up to five years whereas the worker honey bees, whom are all females only have a lifespan of around six weeks and they are the ones that do the bulk of all the work to produce honey. The queen herself is the most busy during the summer months when the hive needs the most strength, during this time she can lay nearly 2,500 eggs each day. She also is the one that has control over male and female eggs. She can choose to use stored sperm to fertilize an egg and it will be female. If the egg is unfertilized that she uses, it will be male. The males are called drones and they’re bigger than the female honey bees and it is only the drones that sting not the worker honey bees and they are only going to sting you if they feel you are a threat and they are the ones that die once they sting you.

By the way, scientists say that it would take 1100 stings to kill a person. Unless you have an extremely severe allergy to the sting.

Lori