You may think you know a lot about honeybees, but there is always more to learn about this fascinating creature. Did you know that honeybees are the only insect that produces food consumed by humans? Or that honey is the one food that never goes bad? Did you know that honeybees are responsible for one-third of our crops, thanks to their pollinating skills? Truly, honeybees are fascinating creatures.
There are three types of bees in every hive: a queen, worker bees, and drones. The queen bee and worker bees are all females. Drones are males. Worker bees collect pollen and nectar to make honey. The worker bee collects nectar in a special structure inside her body called a “honey stomach.” They feed the colony, clean the hive and take care of the offspring. Another role for some lucky worker bees is that of the undertaker. They must remove dead bees from the hive a dispose of them. A drone’s job is to simply mate with the queen. A queen mates with multiple drones and lays eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. A prolific queen bee can lay 2,500 eggs a day. Until she runs out, can no longer lay eggs and is no longer queen bee.
The queen bee takes off on a mating flight. She leaves the hive and goes to mate with as many drones as possible. She only mates this one time in her life but with numerous drones. She stores the sperm in her spermatheca. Then she holds the sperm for her lifetime and uses it until it’s gone. Queen bees usually perform their job for about two years. As they age, they lay fewer eggs and their pheromone production lower as they age too. In their prime, they lay 1,000 to 2,000 eggs. Usually, the hive will replace a queen bee once she isn’t producing enough eggs.
Honeybees have four wings, six legs, and five eyes. The three large eyes have multiple facets and these eyes can detect movement, color and patterns. The smaller eyes can detect light and help then navigate flight. They fly up to 15 to 20 miles per hour. Honeybees use their antennae to smell. The sound of their buzz is made by their wings flapping- they flap up to 200 strokes per second. Honeybees don’t usually sting, and only the female bee stings. If a bee does sting you, they die soon after as their stinger is attached to their abdomen and it gets pulled out.
Honeybees produce wax from a gland on their abdomen. They make honeycombs from the wax that provide a place to raise the young and also store food. They are efficient builders.
Hives can produce five different substances, honey, of course, beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly. A lot is going on in there. A colony can have up to 60,000 bees and only one queen. A hive is a busy place. Outside the house, bees collect pollen, water and of course nectar to make honey. Security guard bees guard the hive against unwanted guests. Safe and sound inside, some bees care for the young, some make honey, build honeycomb and perform other domestic activities. It is a well-run house!
In winter, bees stay inside the hive and consume the honey they made in the summer. In the busy bee time, a summer a worker bee lives about six to eight weeks total. Believe it or not, their most common type of death is from wearing out their wings from flying, because they work themselves to death.
Honey never spoils; in fact, a bottle of honey was unearthed in King Tutt’s tomb, and it was fine. Honey is the only substance that has all the elements necessary to sustain life, including water. It is composed of 80% sugars and 20 % water.
We think bees are truly fascinating. If you have a question about a beehive or beehive removal please call us at 972-316-9135. We give free estimates and service Dallas Fort Worth and surrounding areas.