The honey bee is probably the most common and widely known bee family. A rather small sized insect, it inhabits quiet forests, jungles ad gardens around the world and is mainly involved in the production of honey. It is believed to have originated from the jungles of parts of south East Asia from where it later took up residence in many different countries.
It is a popular bee used for keeping bees. Honey bee beekeeping is an enjoyable hobby that can bring in some regular extra cash.
There are several facts about honey bees you might want to know.
As is the case with other types of bees, the honey bee builds and inhabits a hive, usually run by a female queen . At one point in the summer , a hive can have over 40,000 of these insects. But where does the honey that you collect from the hive come from? Well, nectar is collected from flowers in your garden and then taken to the hive where it’s turned into honey.
Being primarily herbivorous , these small insects live purely on nutrients from plants. They prefer to ingest pollen, nectar, fruits or other sweeter plant produce.
Probably the most unique thing about honeybees is their form of communication, the dance language, which involves movements made with the tail. Generally, the language is used to warn other members of the colony of impending danger.
Out of the more than 20,000 recognized bee species, only 7 of them belong to the honey bee family . Individual species may however contain subspecies. In the case of the honey bees, there are a total 44 recognized subspecies.
5. Million eggs
Queen honey bees usually lay close to 1,500 eggs a day and can lay up to about 1 million throughout their lifetime. For them, the task of laying eggs starts just 48 hours after mating and they’re so prolific egg layers that they can produce their own body weight in terms of eggs in just a day. In fact, the queen has no time for grooming, feeding or other chores with such tasks being performed by attendant workers.
Industrious workers may visit up to 2,000 flowers per day. Since they can’t carry pollen from all these flowers at a go, they keep repeating round trip flights throughout the whole day. This, however, can put a lot of wear & tear on their body, shortening their lives to as little as 3 weeks.
7. Lifetime sperm supply
While the queen honey bee can live between 3 and 4 years, her biological clock often ticks much faster than you probably think. Within a week of emerging from the queen cell, the young queen flies from her hive to mate. If no mating occurs within 20 days, she might lose the ability to mate. On the other hand, if successful, the queen does not need to mate again. She will hold a supply of sperm in her spermatheca and use it to fertilize eggs in the course of her life.
8. Slow “flyers”
A honey bee can fly at a speed of about 15 miles an hour. You might think this is too fast, but in the world of bug, it is actually rather slow. They are built for shorter trips from one flower to the next, not for any long distance travel.