It’s a pity that a large number of people don’t know much about these buzzing insects. That’s why we have compiled a list of bee facts that everyone should know.
Bees are lovely little creatures with so many interesting facts about them. They’re so small and yet remarkably productive.
So if you’re interested in our buzzing little friends, please read on and enjoy.
Top 10 Facts About Bees to Get You Started
- There are 3 types of bees in a colony: the queen, the workers, and the drones.
- Bees have an exceptional sense of smell.
- Researchers discovered a bee fossil that’s 100 million years old.
- Bees have 5 eyes.
- Bees use the sun to help them navigate.
- Drone bees can’t hurt you because they don’t have a stinger.
- A queen bee lays 1 egg in 43 seconds.
- A hive could have more than 1 queen.
- Bombus dahlbomii are the world’s largest bumblebees.
- Bumblebees build their homes near the ground.
From interesting tidbits to facts that help you understand why bees are so important to the world, this article offers a whole bunch of information to keep you entertained.
Interesting Facts About Bees Buzzing Around Us
Did you know that bees have a wonderful sense of smell and can see the sun in a completely different way than humans? Or maybe you’d like to know what different types of honey bees exist.
1. There are three types of bees in a colony: the queen, the workers, and the drones.
(National Geographic Kids)
Queen bees facts reveal she lays eggs, builds the hive, and rules over its colony. The worker bees — which are all female — collect pollen and nectar and do all the work around the hive.
The drones (the male honey bees) don’t do much except copulate with the queen so that she can lay eggs. Furthermore, the worker bee facts reveal that they’re the busiest of all bees in the hive.
2. The brain of a bee is the size of a sesame seed.
Nonetheless, they are brilliant. They can make complex calculations about their foraging efficiency and traveled distance.
For us, this would take a lot of mental gymnastics. Yet, the bees can do it without much effort, despite the size of their brains.
3. Bees have an exceptional sense of smell.
(National Geographic Kids)
Honey bee facts from National Geographic show that these creatures have approximately 170 odorant receptors. These receptors allow them to tell the difference between the types of flowers they get their nectar and pollen from.
They also use this fantastic mechanism to communicate within the hive.
4. Researchers discovered a 100-million-year-old bee fossil in 2006.
Oregon State University researchers made this fantastic discovery in Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley. It was a brilliant find as the fossil is among the oldest ones that were found and acknowledged.
The fossil was preserved in amber, which is the main reason it didn’t degrade.
5. Insightful bee facts reveal that this family of insects — Apoidae — comprises more than 20,000 species.
This rather large family includes all kinds of bees, from bumblebees and honey bees to a whole host of other types of insects closer to wasps or even flies.
As bee facts for 2022 reveal, it’s most likely that the bees you’re familiar with are either bumblebees or honey bees. Still, there are many other species out there.
6. Bees communicate through movement.
One of the interesting bee facts reveals that they communicate with one another through movement. Some say that it looks like they’re dancing or head-butting each other. It depends on the message that they’re trying to get across.
7. One of the odd facts about honey bees is they don’t sleep.
Traditionally, that is. Instead of shutting down when it’s time to sleep, bees stay conscious. However, they remain still throughout the night to conserve energy for foraging after the sun comes out.
8. One of the incredible but facts about bees is that they have five eyes.
(WUSTL, Scientific American)
The first two eyes are on the left and right sides of their head and are made up of loads of tiny lenses. The remaining three eyes — each containing only one lense — are on the top of their heads.
Honey bees have powerful eyesight that allows them to see UV light.
9. According to some terrifyingly amazing facts about bees, it takes around 1,100 bee stings to kill a human being.
Of course, the number is significantly lower for people who are deathly allergic to a bee sting. You’ll also find that you will only ever be stung by a worker bee as drones don’t have stingers, while the queen spends her entire life inside the hive.
10. Bee stings have health benefits.
Interesting bee facts show that melittin — found in the venom of honey bees — may prevent HIV. It’s also known that the substance can relieve pain in people who have rheumatoid arthritis.
11. One of the weird facts about bees is that they may change brain chemistry when switching from one task to another.
Bees have to perform a myriad of tasks both around the hive and out in the open. These tasks include things like getting rid of the bodies of dead bees in the hive, looking for food, and gathering nectar or pollen.
12. Bees can discern and remember faces.
Bees see people in much the same way we do, which allows them to remember specific characteristics of faces. Some cool facts about bees suggest that they can map out features on human faces.
This is currently being studied to help with the development of facial recognition software.
(British Beekeepers Association)
According to the BBKA, bees use the position of the sun to help them navigate. There’s also evidence of their sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic field. Bees can even see the sun through thick clouds because their eyes are sensitive to polarized light.
Honey Bee Facts
Honey bees are social little creatures that live in colonies. They’re responsible for a third of the food we eat.
14. The nectar collected from two million flowers produces a pound of honey.
(The Honey Association)
Western honey bee facts reveal that a single bee would have to fly around 90,000 miles for this amount of honey. That seems like a lot of traveling for such a small creature.
But they can’t do it on their own because one bee can only make about a 12th of a teaspoon of honey in their entire lifetime.
15. “Colony collapse disorder” is a phenomenon that occurs when massive amounts of bees leave the hive forever.
(National Geographic Kids)
According to many facts about bees dying out, a great many colonies have collapsed in the last 15 years. It’s scary because we don’t really know why this is happening. It’s causing a loss of a significant number of bee colonies.
16. Honey bee pollination accounts for approximately one-third of the food we eat.
Through collecting nectar, they make delicious honey. As human beings, we then gather this honey from their hives and eat it in many different foods and drinks.
Another one of the fun facts about bees is that there is no other insect that creates something we consume in our daily lives.
17. There are between 115,000 and 125,000 beekeepers in the US.
(National Honey Board, USDA)
Beekeeping is a tradition that goes back 4,500 years. It’s remained popular throughout this time. Through beekeeping, we’re able to gather honey from beehives and sell it or use it in our daily lives.
18. Despite being small, one of the more interesting facts about honey bees is that they can fly pretty fast.
A honeybee can fly at a speed of 15 miles per hour. This is all thanks to being able to flap their wings at around 230 beats per second. Therefore, honey bees can cover a large amount of space in a short period, even though they are not large insects.
19. Male bees can’t hurt you because they don’t have a stinger.
(Benefits of Honey)
It’s an interesting fact about honey bees that the male ones — also called drones — don’t have stingers. However, drone bee facts show that nature doesn’t require them to have one.
They barely do anything except mate with the queen bee so that she can lay eggs. It’s a matriarchy in which the worker bees do all the work.
20. You can order honey bees, and they will arrive in a box.
(Alaska Urban Hippie)
This box is made of wood and mesh. It’s designed to keep the bees together while they are taken from one place to another.
According to bee facts from 2020, once you receive the bees, you can let them go about creating their hive. Sure, they aren’t traditional pets like cats and dogs, but they do make delicious honey.
21. Honey bees die after they sting a human being or mammal.
(Buzz about Bees)
This happens after they sting someone because the shape of their stinger gets them stuck, so they die while trying to get away. Bees won’t die after stinging other insects because their stingers don’t get stuck inside them.
Queen Bee Facts
The Queen is the largest bee in the colony. Not only is her size impressive, but her power is also remarkable. The queen can sting multiple times!
22. Queen bees live for a much more extended period than any other bee.
(National Geographic Kids)
While other female honey bees (otherwise known as worker bees) may only live for five weeks, the queen bee will live for around five years, according to fun facts about honey bees.
That’s a massive difference in life expectancy between a worker bee and a queen bee.
23. It is estimated that a queen bee lays an egg once in around 43 seconds.
(The University of Arizona)
That’s a lot of eggs being laid in a short period. Honey bee facts and myths reveal she can release as many as 2,000 eggs in a single day. This is why the queen is important, as it’s how she breeds new bees for her beehive.
24. The queen bee mates with around 30 male bees in the space of 24 to 48 hours.
(Big Island Bees)
After mating with the drones for one or two days, she goes back into the hive. Once she has returned, she will not go back outside or copulate ever again.
According to some interesting facts about the honey bee, that’s why you don’t often see queen bees away from the hive as they don’t leave regularly.
25. Queen bees eat a substance called “royal jelly.”
(Pets on Mom)
This “royal jelly” is a substance that comes out of the heads of female worker bees.
Sometimes you’ll find that the babies also feed on this substance, but the queen is the only one that eats it as a fully grown bee. Now that’s interesting honey bee information.
26. A hive could have more than one queen bee.
Two queens can be alive simultaneously, but only while the first queen is being replaced. The original queen will be killed, but there may be a period when both queens are alive simultaneously.
General Bumble Bee Facts
Bumblebees usually live in smaller groups and don’t swarm. Unlike honey bees, bumblebees don’t die after a sting.
27. Bombus dahlbomii are the biggest bumblebees you will ever find.
(Mental Floss, Live Science)
You’ll find that they grow to be as large as 1.6 inches, which is up to four times the size of the bumblebees you’ll see in the United States. They are immediately noticeable because of their size, and you’ll generally find them in South America.
28. Bumblebees have to eat nearly all of the time.
Interesting facts about bumblebees reveal that they need to feed on a near-constant basis to keep going. Their metabolism is very quick, so if they don’t eat often enough, they will likely starve. It doesn’t take long after eating before they are hungry again.
29. Bumblebees fly slower than honey bees, but they are still quite fast.
(National Wildlife Federation)
Even though they are a little bigger than honey bees, they fly a little slower. However, they flap their wings at around 130 beats every single second. This is still relatively fast and can get them a far distance in a fair amount of time.
30. Bumblebee fun fact — they create their homes near the ground.
Fun facts about bumblebees show they often make these nests beneath compost heaps, wood on the ground, or leaves that have fallen from trees.
Next time you’re looking for bumblebees, it’s a good idea to start searching low on the ground rather than higher up.
The bumblebee you’ll find the most in the United States and surrounds is the rusty patched bumblebee.
31. How many stomachs do bees have?
Bees have a total of two stomachs. The one is a regular stomach for food and digestion, which they need to survive. The second stomach is a special one designed to store the bee collected from various flowers and water.
Having two stomachs helps the honey bees in their daily job of collecting nectar and creating delicious honey. Without it, they wouldn’t be able to grab the nectar from the flowers and transport it.
32. How many bees are left?
As of 2019, it was believed that there are around 2 trillion bees left in the world. Of course, it’s not like someone could go around the world, counting every bee they come across.
This data was captured from existing hives and colonies that are being watched over or are tracked. Bees are disappearing all over the world, and this is a problem.
Some of the reasons that this count is so low include climate change, pesticides, and parasites.
33. Do bees sleep?
Bees do sleep. The thing is that they sleep differently from human beings. Research has shown that they need to sleep for five to eight hours, much like we do.
However, it is believed that they simply stay still during this time to ensure that they save their much-needed energy for when they’re busy.
They’ll find a place to stay in this very still state for an extended period so that when they do “wake up,” they have the energy to go about their day.
34. Do bees die when they sting?
As previously mentioned above, worker honey bees do die when they sting human beings or mammals. However, this is because of their stinger’s shape and the fact that it gets stuck and they die trying to pull away.
They don’t, however, die when stinging other insects. Also, drones don’t have stingers, and you’ll rarely be stung by a queen as she hardly ever leaves the hive.
35. Do bees have brains?
Yes, bees have brains. They’re the size of a sesame seed. Despite the size of their brain, bees are incredibly intelligent creatures. For example, they can calculate the traveled distance with minimal effort.
36. Is honey bee vomit?
The answer is complex, but essentially — yes. As you know, bees collect nectar from flowers and store it in their honey stomach. They have a separate stomach where they digest food. The contents of the two stomachs never mix.
Once the bee is in the hive, they regurgitate the nectar and ass it into the processor bee’s mouth. The processor bee stores the nectar in the same way, regurgitates it, and passes it to a bee that’s closer to the honeycomb storage.
Honey bee fun facts further reveal that the nectar is infused with enzymes that make the honey’s shelf-life very long during this process.
Now, once this bee-to-bee vomiting is finished, the bees fan the nectar with their wings so the excess water can evaporate. Finally, bees seal the honey with wax produced in their glands, and then we get our hands on it.
Bees are magnificent creatures who can do so many different things. It’s great that we can learn all about them with these fascinating bee facts. We hope that you feel far more informed than when you started this article.
You might even feel like you want to order a box of honey bees and become an amateur beekeeper. We won’t blame you if you do! If you want to know more about these brilliant buzzing insects, you should check our incredible bee statistics.
Next time you see a bee, don’t run away. Just think about all the fantastic things it’s capable of doing.
- Alaska Urban Hippie
- Benefits of Honey
- Big Island Bees
- British Beekeepers Association
- Bug Squad
- Buzz about Bees
- Carolina Honeybees
- Cornell Chronicle
- discovery gateway
- Golden Green
- Honeybee Centre
- Live Science
- Mental Floss
- National Geographic Kids
- National Honey Board
- National Wildlife Federation
- NY Times
- Pets on Mom
- Scientific American
- The Honey Association
- The University of Arizona