12 Surprisingly Interesting Facts about Bees

Bees are fascinating little creatures! With over 20,000 bee species worldwide, the one people are probably most familiar is the honey bee. Honey bees are among the few types of social bees. They live in colonies and construct vertical wax combs with individual hexagonal cells for storing honey, pollen and developing bees.

Here are some fascinating facts about bees:

Bee Flying Toward a Flower

1. Honey gives energy to bee flight muscles that beat 12,000 times per minute.

Bee Pollinating a Flower

2. All bees require nectar and pollen from flowering plants as food for themselves and their offspring.

Bee on a Daisy

3. Bees drink nectar using a straw-like tongue called a probiscus. They are also equipped with branched (plumos) body hairs that can catch and hold pollen, and combs (scopae) or baskets (corbiculae) for collecting and carrying pollen.

4. The honey bee (also known as Apis mellifera) are most relied on for agricultural pollination.

Bee Pollinating a Purple Flower

5. Honey bees can visit up to 5,000 flowers in a single day.

Bee Colony in a Hive

6. Honey bees collect nectar and convert it into honey. The honey is regurgitated for storage OR mixed with pollen to feed developing larvae (the baby bees).

Queen Bee

7. As the fertile female in the colony, the queen lays up to 2,000 eggs a day and can live for 1-3 years.

Two Bees on a Honeycomb

8. There are up to 60,000 female worker bees in each colony, whose life span is about 4-6 weeks in the summer.

Bee on Honeycomb

9. The male bees in the hive are drones. They live during the spring and summer months and sole purpose is reproduction with new queens.

Bees in Winter

10. In cold weather, the bees cluster together keeping the queen in the center nucleus and any developing bees warm. They generate body heat by vibrating their wing muscles and survive off honey food reserves.

Bee Hive

11. Honey bees secrete wax from their abdominal glands. They use the wax to build the honeycomb in the hive. The honeycomb cells are used to store pollen or honey, or as a place for the queen bee to lay her eggs.

Honey Jar

12. Bees must visit about two million flowers to make a one-pound jar of honey.

Whew! There's a lot more about honey bees than meets the eye. Share these facts on social media to spread the buzz!