Living Up to The Name
Honey bees are the showstoppers for creating our honey supplies.
This is because they produce honey as their main food source. Other bees like Bumblebees only produce a tiny amount in comparison for their winter stores, whilst other bees such as carpenter bees don't produce any honey at all.
Types of Honey Bees in a Colony
But what kinds of honey bees are there?
In one colony you will find:
- A single queen
- 1000s of female worker bees
- 100s of male drones (in the summer months only)
Sadly, the male drones will be evicted in the autumn months and left to die when foraging becomes difficult. (Honey bees are keen to prioritise contributing bees and get their honey produced!)
How Do They Make Honey?
Honey bees collect nectar from flowers and this mixes with enzymes in their mouths. When transported to the hive, they transfer this mix in hexagonal wax honeycomb cells. The bees know when the mixture is ready when the water content has been reduced to about 17%. The bees then seal the cell over with wax until it is needed (or harvested from the beekeepers.)
Where Can You Find Honey Bees?
Honey bees live in hives and can be found in wooded areas. They can be found widespread across the globe. India has the largest amount at about 122 billion bees, which is 87 bees for every person there!
*Disclaimer* We don't suggest actively trying to find any honey bee hives.
Although some types of bees are non-aggressive, female honey bees carry a barbed stinger at the end of their abdomens. We would sting too to protect our precious honey stores!
Find out more about how to have a 'sting-free summer' in our latest blog.
Are Honey Bees Solitary or Social?
Honey bees are social insects. In the hive, they each have a role to complete and work together in organised groups to create honey. Some behaviours and roles include nest construction, environmental control, cleaning, defence and communication.
Now you know the honey bee basics, here are some of our top facts to get you buzzing...
- Honey bees also create beeswax, bee bread (pollen and honey), mead and royal jelly.
- A worker honey bee can fly between 15-20 mph (or 12 mph after collecting pollen, water or nectar.)
- In Roman times, people used honey over gold to pay taxes.
- Due to its antibacterial nature, medical-grade honey was used to treat wounds in WW1 and is still used now in wound dressings.
- Bees fly 55,000 miles to make 1 pound of honey, which is over 2 times around the world in distance!
- Honey lasts undefinedly and doesn't really have a sell-by-date. 3000-year-old honey from Pharaoh tombs has been found, which is still seen as safe to eat!
So, Why Should We Care About Bees?
Did you know that the WWF states that 1 out of every 3 mouthfuls of food we have depends on pollinators like bees?
Bees are fascinating creatures, which is why our community at Beevive are eager to save them.