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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Facts about Bees

There are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world. Bees live in colonies and there are three types of bees in each colony. There is the queen bee, the worker bee and the drone. The worker bee and the queen bee are both female, but only the queen bee can reproduce. All drones are male. Worker bees clean the hive, collecting pollen and nectar to feed the colony and they take care of the offspring. The drone’s only job is to mate with the queen. The queen’s only job is to lay eggs.

Bees store their venom in a sac attached to their stinger and only female bees sting. That is because the stinger, called an ovipositor, is part of the female bee’s reproductive design. A queen bee uses her ovipositor to lay eggs as well as sting. Sterile females, also called worker bees, don’t lay eggs. They just use their ovipositors to sting.

Bees see all colors except the color red. That and their sense of smell help them find the flowers they need to collect pollen. Not only is pollen a food source for bees, but some of the pollen is dropped in flight, resulting in cross pollination. The relationship between the plant and the insect is called symbiosis.

Certain species of bees die after stinging because their stingers, which are attached to their abdomen, have little barbs or hooks on them. When this type of bee tries to fly away after stinging something, part of the abdomen is ripped away.
Some interesting facts about bees

Honey bees' wings beat 11,400 times per minute.
Bees' flight speed averages only 15 miles per hour.
Bees possess five eyes.
Honeybees can perceive movements that are separated by 1/300th of a second. Humans can only sense movements separated by 1/50th of a second. Were a bee to enter a cinema, it would be able to differentiate each individual movie frame being projected.
Bees cannot recognize the color red.
Honeybees' stingers have a barb which anchors the stinger in the victim's body. The bee leaves its stinger and venom pouch behind and soon dies from abdominal rupture.
Africanized Honey Bees (killer bees) will pursue an enemy 1/4 mile or more.
Honeybees communicate with one another by "dancing" so as to give the direction and distance of flowers.
A single hive contains approximately 40-45,000 bees.

Queen bees
The queen is the only sexually developed female in the hive.
The queen mates in flight with approximately 18 drones. She only mates once in her lifetime.
A queen can lay 3,000 eggs in a day.
Queens can live for up to 2 years.
A queen can lay her weight in eggs in one day and 200,000 eggs in a year.
Fertilized eggs will become female offspring, while unfertilized eggs will become males.

The only function of drones is to mate with the queen.

The workers are sexually undeveloped females.
Life expectancy is approximately 28 to 35 days.

Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years.
The honeycomb is composed of hexagonal cells with walls that are only 2/1000 inch thick, but support 25 times their own weight.
Honey is nectar that bees have repeatedly regurgitated and dehydrated.
In the course of her lifetime, a worker bee will produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.
To make one pound of honey, workers in a hive fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers.
Theoretically, the energy in one ounce of honey would provide one bee with enough energy to fly around the world.
The honeybee is not born knowing how to make honey; the younger bees are taught by the more experienced ones.


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