1. Honey bees are super-important pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables. This means that they help other plants grow!
2. Honey bees live in hives (or colonies). The members of the hive are divided into three types:
Queen: One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs that will spawn the next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that makes sure all the other bees behave. Go girl power!
Workers: These are also female and its their role to forage for food, build and protect the hive as well as clean and circulate the air.
Drones: These are the male bees and their purpose is to mate with the queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out!
3. Luckily for us, these efficient little workers produce 2-3 times more honey than they need, so we get to enjoy the tasty treat too!
4. If the queen bee dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva (the newly hatched baby insects) and feeding it a special food called “royal jelly“. This enables the larva to develop into a fertile queen.
5. Honey bees fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second!
6. Each bee has 170 odorant receptors, which they use to communicate within the hive and to recognise different types of flowers.
7. The average worker bee lives for just five to six weeks and in this time she’ll produce around a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
8. The queen can live up to five years and can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day!
9. To share information about the best food sources, honey bees perform a ‘waggle dance’. When the worker returns to the hive, it moves in a figure-of-eight and waggles its body to indicate the direction of the food source.
10. Sadly, over the past 15 years up to 90% of bees have disappeared!
What can you do?
In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honey bees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen.
Why not plant flowers rich in nectar, such as lavender and bluebells, which will help bees find the food they need? Also, be sure to choose local British honey, too, which will support our honey bees and their beekeepers.
Read how to make a seed bomb here