Honey Bees are fascinating and highly beneficial creatures. However, they may also be dangerous when threatened or disturbed. Everyone should know the following remarkable facts about honey bees to better understand these intelligent insects and learn how to stay safe when outdoors.
In this blog, Covenant Wildlife Removal provides 10 of the most mind-blowing facts about honey bees. Then, we answer common questions from the average person who wants to know more about buzzing bees.
Continue reading to learn all about busy and hard-working honey bees!
1 | Honey Bees are Essential Pollinators
Honey bees are among some of the world’s most important pollinators. While wild bees and other flying insects pollinate the bulk of wild plants, honey bees play a significant role in pollinating some of our biggest crops. Honey bees are intentionally released to help grow apples, melons, pumpkins, broccoli, squash, and more!
2 | There are Three Types of Honey Bees.
Within the hive lives a functioning colony of busy honey bees. The three types of hive members include:
- The queen bee is at the top of the ladder regarding responsibility and status. Her primary role is to lay eggs and direct the colony by producing chemicals that guide the member’s behaviors. In most cases, there is only one queen. However, some hives have multiple.
- Worker bees are the females of the hive that collect nectar and pollen from flowers. They also build, protect, and clean the hive. Any honey bee you see buzzing around outside is a female worker bee.
- Drones are males with the sole purpose of mating with the queen to produce the next generation of members. They are abundant in the hive during spring and summer but kicked out as soon as winter comes. The colony must ration its nutrients to survive the harsh weather.
3 | Honey Bees have an Incredible Sense of Smell.
One of the most fascinating facts about honey bees is their extreme sense of smell. With 170 receptors to recognize and collect scents, honey bees can communicate through smell and even identify different flowers.
4 | They Produce Honey to Survive the Winter.
Knowing that bees store honey in the hive to make it through the chilly winter, it sounds cruel for humans to harvest the sugary substance for themselves. However, honey bees produce over double the amount they need, allowing us to enjoy this delicious treat!
5 | A Young Female Bee Eats Royal Jelly to Become Queen.
When the queen bee dies, the workers select a new queen from the female larva of the hive. To become queen, they feed the young female “royal jelly,” which makes the bee fertile. It sounds like something out of a storybook– But it’s true!
6 | Honey Bees also Communicate through Dance.
Yes– You read that right! One of the coolest facts about honey bees is that they share information through a “waggle dance.” When a worker bee returns from foraging for food, it dances around in a figure eight and moves its body to communicate which direction the food is in.
7 | Drones Live Short Lives.
As mentioned, the primary role of a drone honey bee is to mate with the queen. They never leave the hive and cannot sting! Sadly, a drone will die after mating with the queen. They have a critical but unfortunate job in the hive.
8 | It Takes Millions of Flowers to Make a Pound of Honey.
Worker bees travel around 55,000 miles visiting two million flowers on average, all to produce just a single pound of honey. It helps that their wings beat at an incredible rate of 200 times per second, and they fly up to 30 miles per hour!
9 | Honey Bees Sleep!
Like many wild creatures, bees need sleep too. It is proven that honey bees sleep, and even speculated that they may dream!
10 | Honey Bee Colonies are Very Large.
For a healthy bee hive, there can be around 50,000 members in the peak seasons of spring and summer. So, you never want to disrupt a hive full of protective stinging honey bees– You’ll certainly be outnumbered!
Frequently Asked Questions About Honey Bees
You’ve learned that these itty bitty insects are capable of incredible things through the 10 facts about honey bees. But you likely still have a few questions. Even the most seasoned entomologists and researchers continue to have questions about these remarkable creatures.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding fascinating honey bees.
Can Honey Bees Sting?
The worker bees and queen of a colony can sting. On the other hand, drones remain inside the hive, giving them no need for a defense against threats and predators. Honey bee stings can be pretty painful but typically heal on their own after a few days or weeks.
The biggest concern is for those who have an allergy to bee stings. In this case, an attack from one or more honey bees can be life-threatening without immediate and proper care.
The good news is a honey bee can only sting once. Other stinging insects, like wasps and other bee species, are capable of stinging multiple times. However, the honey bee’s stinger has a hook at the end that causes it to get stuck in the skin of the person or animal they sting. When the bee flies away, its stinger is removed from its body, and the honey bee dies.
Are Honey Bees Friendly?
Honey bees are generally peaceful creatures, mainly focusing on foraging for food and caring for the hive. However, they can be dangerous when threatened or when the hive is disturbed in any way. They aren’t necessarily aggressive, but honey bees are highly protective and have no problem defending themselves and their hive family.
In many cases, professionals can handle bees without the threat of being stung. When the honey bee’s needs are provided, and there is no sign of danger, they remain calm and friendly.
How Do You Repel Honey Bees?
There are a few reasons why the average person would need to repel bees from their property. If you or a family member is allergic to bee stings, you’ll certainly want to do what you can to keep them away. Similarly, households with young children who often play outdoors may want to avoid painful stings.
Otherwise, you shouldn’t want or need to repel these highly beneficial insects. Honey bees are vital to our world, pollinating flowers, crops, and trees. However, if there is a need to deter bees, there are some natural and non-harmful things you can do:
- Natural Bee Repellent: Use lavender, citronella, olive, citrus, or vegetable oil on your skin and clothes to keep the bees away from you. They dislike these strong scents.
- Avoid Floral Scents: Besides lavender oil, avoid applying floral sweet perfumes or soaps to your skin when you are in an area with an abundant population of honey bees. Their strong sense of smell will lure them to the floral fragrance they are naturally attracted to when foraging for nectar.
- Wear Dull Colors: Like with the floral smells, bees are naturally fond of brightly colored clothes because of their attraction to flowers. Wear neutral or dull-colored clothing around bees to prevent them from coming near.
- Stay Alert: When spending time outdoors, listen for buzzing and keep a sharp eye out for honey bee hives. Accidentally knocking into a hive full of stinging bees can be very dangerous.
- Produce Smoke: Bees will keep their distance from smoke. So, it’s wise to light flames, like candles, torches, or a campfire, when outside.
- Lure the Bees Away: One of the best ways to keep honey bees out of your space without inflicting harm is to guide them to a faraway spot. To do this, set out shallow bowls of sugar water, syrup, or banana peel scraps in an area of your yard that you and your family do not frequent. The honey bees will naturally be lured to the sugary set-up and are more likely to leave you alone.
How Do You Get Rid of Honey Bees?
The best thing you can do to avoid any danger with wild honey bees is to actively practice honey bee prevention. However, nature has a funny way of persisting, no matter how hard we fight it.
So, when you discover a honey bee problem or infestation at home, call Covenant Wildlife Removal to humanely eliminate troublesome bees.
Never attempt to remove a hive yourself. As you have learned, disrupting a bee colony can be extremely dangerous and problematic. Instead, call in the professionals.
At Covenant Wildlife, we know the importance of these remarkable insects. We do everything possible to remove and relocate the honey bees and hive without harming the vital colony. If these efforts fail, we also know the best ways to get rid of them for good.