Check out these 10 fascinating facts about honeybees that you probably didn’t know.
- Honeybees play a crucial role in the pollination of many different plant species, including ornamentals and food crops. That’s because they promote the development of other plants. Pollination occurs when bees move pollen from a plant’s male to female reproductive organs.
- The honeybee is second only to the human in the number of scientific studies conducted on it.
- If the queen dies, the workers will raise a new one from among the newly hatched larvae by feeding it royal jelly. With this, the larva can mature into a fertile queen. The reason bees are so noisy is because they beat their wings 11,400 times in one minute!
- The males (drones) of the honeybee colony are unable to sting, but a worker bee is more likely to sting a human. Despite their ability to sting, queen honeybees typically do not attack humans because they prefer to stay near to the hive.
- The front foot, mouth, jaw, and antennae of honeybees are all used for tasting. Honeybees’ sensitive antennae play a crucial role in the tasting process. A honeybee has five eyes and antennae with more than 300 taste receptors.
- All of the bees in the hive report to one queen. She is responsible for producing the eggs that will develop into the bees’ next generation. In addition to laying eggs, the queen bee secretes chemicals that direct the behaviour of the worker bees.
- Bees are capable of both heating and cooling their hive to maintain a constant temperature of 93 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Because they are cold-blooded, bees must maintain a steady temperature within the hive. When temperatures outside drop, worker bees swarm together to generate body heat, and propolis is used to cover any gaps in the hive’s exterior. When it’s hot outside, the bees gather around the hive’s entrance to drink water and form a ring. The bees fan the water with their wings to cause its evaporation. As a makeshift central air conditioning system, they fan the cool air about the colony.
- When food is scarce or honey from some other hive is accessible (such as when a beekeeper accidentally leaves a hive open), bees will “rob” honey from other bees. A guard bee from the plundered hive will sting to death an intruder if she captures it after smelling the invader’s foreign scent. The invader can come and go from the hive undetected if she picks up enough of the hive’s fragrance and memorises the entrance.
- Honeycombs, which are typically hexagonal in shape, are the most space-efficient man-made structures. Due to the design, there is no dead space between the cells. The hexagonal cells in the wax, despite their apparent fragility, can support a great load.
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