A running list of fascinating bee facts:
- Bees have FIVE eyes! You can clearly see the two compound eyes on the sides of their heads for color & distance vision, but honeybees also have three light-sensing eyes on their forehead that pick up on daylight & darkness but no color.
- There are 3 “types” of honeybees in a hive–the queen, the worker, and the drone. The one Queen and thousands of workers make up 90% of a colony and are all females. Drones are male and their sole job is to fly outside the hive and mate with a new queen from a different colony–then he dies, poor guy.
- Drones do not forage for nectar, collect pollen, build honeycomb, or take care of the baby bees. They just sit around and eat honey and wait for a nice spring day to find a queen to mate with. They can’t even EAT by themselves as their proboscis is not long enough–they must be fed by their sisters. No wonder the hive kicks the drones out to freeze with the onset of winter. No one likes a mooch!
- Swarming is a natural part of bee behavior–and is actually a sign that a colony is doing well and needs more space! About half the hive will leave with the old queen for a new home. The others will stay put and raise a new queen.
- Another thing drones can’t do? Sting! Yep, the stinger is an evolved ovipositor (egg laying tube) and since guys can’t lay eggs, they don’t have a stinger. My kids like me to catch drones for them to play with.
- A honeybee will produce about a teaspoon and a half of honey in her lifetime.
- How long is that? During the summer when they’re making thousands of foraging trips, a honeybee will live about 5-6 weeks. In the winter, they can live about 4 months. A queen usually lives 3-5 YEARS!
- And during those 3-5 years, the queen is laying about 1,500 eggs a day.
- It takes 21 days to transform from egg to hatched bee.
- Which means in 21 days, you’ll have 1,500 new bees. And the next day you’ll have 1,500 new bees. And the next day you’ll have 1,500 new bees.
- There can be 60,00-100,000 bees in a large colony. *Mine is probably around 35,000-40,000.