Whether you love honey recipes, are concerned about the honeybee’s place in our planet’s ecosystem, or just watched ‘Bee Movie’ with Jerry Seinfeld a few years ago, chances are you have some understanding of the fascinating nature of bees. Whatever your level of understanding is of these fascinating creatures, read on, as you will most likely read something here that you didn’t know before!
Honeybees are insects, and have 6 legs, 5 eyes, and 2 sets of wings. Using these wings, they are capable of speeds of up to 32kmph (20mph), and if this seems like it’s not that fast, consider that for most of us, going at 32kmph is going at maximum speed on a bicycle; pretty fast!
In a colony of honeybees, there are three types of bees: workers, drones and the queen. Workers and the Queen are female, and Drones are male. Workers live for about 6 weeks, while the queen lives much longer, approximately 2-3 years. In a similar manner to lions (or humans), the male drones do none of the work in a hive leaving it all for the females, although they have no stingers with which to protect the hive. Workers have a stinger, which they will only use if they feel threatened, although they will die after using it. Queens also have stingers, although they will not leave the hive to defend it.
There can be anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 honeybees in a colony, the majority of which will be workers. One of these workers will collect 1/10th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, and therefore, it will take about 556 workers to gather 1 pound of honey. In the process, those 556 workers will gather the nectar of 2 million flowers. Although this gives you an idea of what honeybees can produce, what’s realistic? A Canadian Prairie honeybee colony can produce approximately 170 pounds of honey in a single season!
Honeybees have a fascinating ‘social system’, through which the delicious honey that we enjoy in so many different ways is produced. If you’re interested in learning more facts about honey itself, make sure to visit BeeMaid of Canada’s website!