21 Little Known Bee Facts


Honey bees are good people, get to know them

  1. Honeybees pre-date humans by thousands of years. Science agrees the honey bee has been buzzing around for millions of years.
  2. Honey bees are an insect but produce food for man. No known insect except the bee produces human quality food.
  3. The melittin toxin in honey bee venom may prevent HIV. Washington University in St. Louis.
  4. The olfactory senses of honey bees are so accurate they can smell to differentiate the vast plant varieties and determine what flowers carried pollen or nectar from amazing distances.
  5. Honey bees can fly six miles at 15 miles per hour while their wings beat 200 times per second.
  6. A revealing study by researchers at the University of Illinois indicates bees are different. Some are energetic, some are lazy. Some bees are more reserved while others are more adventuresome. Bees have personalities and a 2011 study suggests honey bees may have emotional feelings.
  7. Honey contains minerals, vitamins, enzymes, water and pinocembrin (an antioxidant). Honey is the only food that includes all the nutritional requirements to sustain life. To say honey is good for us is an understatement. Some science suggests honey improves brain function.
  8. The honey bee population has been dwindling since the 1970s. Colonies have been reduced by 50%. Four million colonies to today's two million. The decline has been attributed to global warming, parasites, fungus and a reduction in the bees immunity system due to exposure to various pesticides, herbicides and other negative environmental influences. Buzz over bee health: New pesticide studies rev up controversy.
  9. Colony collapse disorder has reached an epidemic level. Yet researchers have failed to identify the root cause of the problem. One thing is certain, if a solution is not found immediately, we are witnessing the final days of the honey bee.
  10. The National Honey Board  says it would require only a single ounce of honey to provide the necessary energy for a honey bee to fly around the globe.
  11. Honey bees collect approximately 2.2 lbs. of honey per hive after flying 90,000 miles or the same as three trips around Earth.
  12. Honey bees may visit up to 100 flowers and plants during a single collection flight.
  13. Bee hives vary in size. Approximately 20-60,000 bees per hive plus one queen. Worker bees are female and live about six weeks. Drones are males and their sole job is to mate.
  14. Check this out. The Awesome Honey Bee Dance . A post about honey bee communication. Yep, they dance to communicate. Plus you learn about the honey bees precise sense of time, distance and direction.
  15. Bees keep their vision clear because they have hairs on their eyeballs. The hairs prevent their eyes from collecting dirt, dust and pollen.
  16. Honey bees have a cognitive visual processing ability usually associated with primates. They can recognize one human face from another. The same ability that gives them foraging and navigation abilities.
  17. Honey bees are so self-sufficient they can dramatically influence the temperature of their hives. When it's cold, the bees cluster and vibrate their collective wings to generate heat. To reduce heat, they fan wings to circulate air and collect and carry water to the hive for cooling.
  18. A honey bees brain is about the size of a sesame seed, but capable of extreme mathematical calculations including foraging distances, energy expenditure, visual identification differences in floral variety and the the most economical route to a pollen or nectar source.
  19.  The average worker bee will produce 1.5 teaspoons of honey during her entire life. If you want to understand the true meaning of an age old cliche, as busy as a bee.
  20. Thomas C. Hales' 19 page mathematical proof (The Honeycomb Conjecture) demonstrates how the honey comb is the most efficient structure in nature. The walls of the honey comb are a perfect hexagon at precise 120 degree angles.
  21. The US Department of Agriculture says honey bees pollinate 80% of America's crops. America consumes 290 million pounds of honey per year and bees pollinate $200 billion in food crops. EACH YEAR. Honey bees do more than create jobs. They determine the success or failure of numerous industries.

For more bee facts, data and insight:

Neonicotinoid pesticides are slowly killing bees (PBS)

Bees Get a Buzz from Flowers' Electrical Fields (livescience.com)

What will happen if the bees disappear? (CNN)

Save bees, plant flowers.


BHF's free quarterly newsletter

Stay informed, do your part, subscribe now.