- Bees live in a colony.
A colony of bees consists of 20 000 to 60 000 worker bees.
- Honey could be considered as bees’ vomit.
Bees draw nectar from flowers using their long proboscis and stores it in its ‘honey stomach’ which is different from its stomach that digests food. When the bees return to the nest, they will regurgitate the nectar which is mixed with the bee enzymes. This regurgitated nectar is honey.
- Bees are good in math and engineering.
Bees use hexagonal cells to build honeycombs. Hexagons are the most efficient shape that allows maximum space using minimal wax.
- There’s only one queen in the bee family.
The queen’s main task is to produce offspring. If the queen dies, worker bees create a new queen by selecting a young larva and feeding it royal jelly. This enables the larva to develop into a fertile queen.
- Worker bees are females.
99% of the colony of bees are female worker bees who are performing most of the tasks in the hive, except laying eggs. These tasks include collecting nectar and pollen, feeding the queen, drones and larvae, producing wax, building the honeycombs and guarding the hive.
- Only about 1% of the colony are males.
Male honeybees are known as drones. A male’s only task is to fertilise the queen. They die during fertilisation and if they fail to perform their function, they will be driven out of the hive.
- Bees are vegetarians.
They feed on nectar and pollen.
- Bees communicate by doing the ‘waggle dance’.
When a bee finds a good source of nectar, it flies back to its hive and shares the location by doing a unique dance which positions the flower in relation to the sun and the hive.
- Bees produce wax.
Honeybees secrete beeswax from a series of glands on their abdomen. They use the wax to form the walls and caps of the honeycomb. Humans extract this wax to make candles, crayons and even some cosmetic products.
- Bees aren’t all the same.
There are between 25 000 to 30 000 species of bees. Only about 7 species are honeybees.
- Many plants depend on bees for pollination.
The hairy body of a bee helps to trap a significant amount of pollen from a flower. As a bee typically visits 50 to 100 flowers in a collection trip, it generously helps to pollinate many plants.
- Caring for bees is part of the fight against world hunger.
As bees are significant pollinators for many crops, do your part by supporting your local beekeepers. You can also plant flowers which attract bees in your garden.
Let us #SavetheBees!
Written by Revathy Dasan
Illustrations by Toh Bee Suan