Bees are one of the most fascinating insects on the planet. With over 20,000 different species, 4,000 of them residing in the U.S., there is a wide variety of knowledge we can learn from them. They help our gardens thrive, produce a delicious treat for everyone and signify that Winter is over and Spring had sprung. Here are 5 amazing facts about these little friends.
Bees see every color besides red
Their favorite colors are blue, purple and indigo because that is the color spectrum that is the most visible. Even though they can’t see red, they can still pick up on reddish wavelengths from orange and yellow flowers. They can, however, see ultraviolet colors while humans cannot. The color “bee’s purple” is a combination of yellow and ultraviolet light. Sunflowers have this color which is why bees love them so much.
Bees are the only insect in the world that produce food that humans eat
Honey is liquid gold produced by worker bees. After they collect pollen and nectar, they take it back to the hive to feed the colony and once everyone has been fed, the overage can be collected by humans to use. The worker bees stay busy all year making sure enough food can be stored for the Winter. It takes about 550 bees visiting almost 2 million flowers to produce 1 pound of honey, and after a successful season about 100 pounds of extra honey can be collected.
Honey has no expiration date
Honey contains natural preservatives that prevent bacteria from growing in it, so if stored properly, it can last a lifetime- and then some!! Modern archeologists uncovered an Egyptian tomb and found honey that was stored over 3000 years ago that was still in perfect edible condition. With an extremely high Ph level, the only way honey can expire is if something that could expire is in the honey. It contains a very low amount of water, being almost entirely sugar, so as long as it is in an air tight container, it will be completely fine.
Bees have a very structured colony
There are three groups of members in a hive. The queen, the drone and the worker. The queen sits deep in the hive and her only job is to eat honey reproduce. The drones are the only males in the hive and exist specifically to mate with the queen. The worker bees have the tough job. They are all female and are the ones who go out to collect honey and nectar, tidy up the hive from debris and pests and also take care of the offspring. With over 70,000 members on average, there is a lot of work to do for the workers.
Drone bees are a lot more valuable than we think
Not only are they responsible with mating with the queens, they sometimes leave the hive to find new queens. They can go into almost any new hive, totally undetected to find the queen. They provide a very important genetic diversity which is crucial for the colony. If the queen becomes weak or ill, healthy drones can provide the right amount of genetic strength to ensure the hive doesn’t die out. Also, in the event of starvation, the drones will be consumed for sustainability.
Bees are a very complex and interesting insect. With their own system of rules, they have survived over 30 million years. They are hard working and provide us with 80% of the pollination we need in order to survive, the next time you see one of these little treasures flying around, remember how important they are to daily life.
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