1. How long do honeybees live?
During the summer months, a colony’s worker bees are busy around the clock. They look for sources of food to feed the larvae, collect nectar, build honeycombs, and much more! Due to their demanding jobs, honeybees only live for 35 days on average. Queen bees, on the other hand, live for almost five years on average.
2. What do bees eat in the winter?
The honey that bees produce is stockpiled as provisions for the winter. When we humans help ourselves to honey in autumn, we are depriving the bees of their winter rations. To make up for this, beekeepers feed bees sugar water that they ferment and store for nourishment in the winter.
3. What do you do when a swarm of bees leaves the hive?
The German Civil Code doesn’t just govern human conduct, it also lays out what you have to do if your own bees leave the hive. If they do leave, and you don’t follow the swarming bees immediately, you forfeit ownership of the bees. If you do follow the swarm, you are permitted to enter third party property and, in emergencies, you can even open someone else’s uninhabited hive.
4. How many species of honeybee are there?
Honeybees have populated the Earth for 40 million years. There are nine different honeybee species around the world. The species Apis mellifera is native to Europe and Africa. In Germany, there are three sub-species of Apis mellifera: the European dark bee, the Carniolan honeybee, and the Buckfast bee. It is difficult for anyone who is not an expert to distinguish them.
5. Bees are not black and yellow
When told to picture a bee, most people probably see black and yellow stripes. Surprisingly enough, their stripes are actually brown and not black! Black and yellow stripes are the distinguishing characteristic of wasps.
6. When do bees sting?
Only female bees have the ability to sting, as male bees do not possess a stinger. Unlike wasps, which can sting multiple times in a row, bees sting only when they believe their colony is under threat. Once they have used their stinger, bees tear off part of their abdomen in an attempt to remove the stinger and then die.
7. How many eyes do bees have?
Unlike humans, bees have more than just two eyes. The two large faceted eyes (compound eyes) that observers notice first are unable to distinguish between light and dark. To be able to do that, bees have an extra type of eye. Called ‘ocelli’ eyes, these three eyes cannot move and are located in the middle of a bee’s head.
8. The queen bee determines the gender of the other bees
The queen decides whether a worker bee (female) or a drone (male) hatches. Females are produced if the egg is fertilised, whereas males develop from unfertilised eggs (parthenogenesis). The queen selects the eggs to be fertilised.
9. How fast can bees fly?
A honeybee’s maximum speed is just under 24 km/h.
10. Bees see colour differently than humans
When bees fly over large meadows full of flowers with different colours, they tend to make a beeline for the blue and yellow ones. Bees are able to see ultraviolet light, which is why they cannot see red.
11. How much work does it take to produce a kilo of honey?
350-400 bees have to work their entire lives to produce a kilo of honey. A single bee produces around three grams of honey during its lifetime.
12. How much beeswax does a bee colony produce?
In contrast to the abundance of honey that a bee colony produces in one year, it makes only enough wax for about six tea lights. The wax is made in special glands in the worker bee’s abdominal section.
13. Bees can track down drugs and explosives
With systematic training, bees can be conditioned to react to certain scents. They can be used effectively to search for drugs and explosives. This method is already used in the United States. In fact, bees are even better at it than the average tracking dog.
14. Queen bees only have one mating flight
A queen bee only leaves the hive once in her life to mate. She mates with several drones. The mating flight yields a lifetime supply of sperm to fertilise her eggs.