1. The honey bee has been around for millions of years.
2. Honey bees, scientifically also known as Apis mellifera, are environmentally friendly and are vital as pollinators.
3. It is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
4. Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and water. Also, it’s the only food that contains “pinocembrin”, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.
5. There is an estimated total of 16,000+ bee species world-wide. Of these, 575 species make and store honey in structures made from secreted wax.
6. Of these 210 are bumblebees and 365 stingless bees.
7. In the UK we have 256 bee species.
8. Honey bees have 6 legs, 2 compound eyes made up of thousands of tiny lenses (one on each side of the head), 3 simple eyes on the top of the head, 2 pairs of wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.
9. Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, compared with only 62 in fruit flies and 79 in mosquitoes.
10. Their exceptional olfactory abilities include kin recognition signals, social communication within the hive and odour recognition for finding food.
11. Their sense of smell was so precise that it could differentiate hundreds of different floral varieties and tell whether a flower carried pollen or nectar from metres away.
12. The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz.
13. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
14. The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
15. A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1kg of honey.
16. It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
17. A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
18. The bee’s brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.
19. A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
20. The queen bee can live up to 5 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs per day.