- How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey? – Two million.
- How far does a hive of bees fly to bring you one pound of honey? – Over 55,000 miles.
- How much honey does the average worker honey bee make in her lifetime? – 1/12 teaspoon.
- How fast does a honey bee fly? – About 15 miles per hour.
- How much honey would it take to fuel a bee’s flight around the world? – About one ounce.
- What is mead? – Honey wine.
- How long have bees been producing honey from flowering plants? – 10-20 million years.
- What Scottish liqueur is made with honey? – Drambuie
- How many sides does each honeycomb cell have? – Six
- What is the U.S. per capita consumption of honey? – On average, each person consumes about 1.3 pounds per year.
- What state is known as the beehive state? – Utah
- How many wings does a honey bee have? – Four
- How many beekeepers are there in the United States? – USDA has estimated that there are between 139,600 and 212,000 beekeepers in the United States. Most are hobbyists with less than 25 hives.
- How many honey-producing colonies of bees are there in the United States? – The USDA estimates that there are approximately 2.68 million honey producing colonies. This estimate is based on beekeepers who managed five or more colonies in 2010.
- How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip? – 50-100.
- How do honey bees communicate with one another? – “Dancing.” Honey bees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen was located. The dance explains direction and distance. Bees also communicate with pheromones.
- What does “super” mean to a beekeeper? – The super is the hive box in which honey is stored.
Honey Bee Facts
Honey bees are social insects, with a marked division of labor between the various types of bees in the colony. A colony of honey bees includes a queen, drones and workers.
The queen is the only sexually developed female in the hive. She is the largest bee in the colony. A two-day-old larva is selected by the workers to be reared as the queen. She will emerge from her cell 11 days later to mate in flight with approximately 18 drone (male) bees. During this mating, she receives several million sperm cells, which last her entire life span of nearly two years. The queen starts to lay eggs about ten days after mating. A productive queen can lay 3,000 eggs in a single day.
Drones are stout male bees which have no stingers. Drones do not collect food or pollen from flowers. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen. If the colony is short on food, drones are often kicked out of the hive.
Workers, the smallest bees in the colony, are sexually undeveloped females. A colony can have 50,000 to 60,000 workers. The life span of a worker bee varies according to the time of year. Her life expectancy is approximately 28 to 35 days. Workers that are reared in September and October, however, can live through the winter. Workers feed the queen and larvae, collect nectar, guard the hive entrance and help to keep the hive cool by fanning their wings. In addition, honey bees produce wax comb. The comb is composed of hexagonal cells which have walls that are only 2/1000 inch thick, but support 25 times their own weight.
Honey bees’ wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
Honey History Facts
LITERATURE: 21ST CENTURY B.C.
Honey is alluded to in the Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code, the sacred writings of India, the Vedas and in the ancient writings of Egypt.
Palestine is often referred to as “the land of milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:8)
EGYPT: 30TH CENTURY B.C.
Honey was used in most households as a sweetening agent. The people of this time valued honey highly, thus, it was commonly used as a tribute or payment. Honey was also used to feed sacred animals.
SUMERIA, ASSYRIA AND BABYLONIA: 21ST CENTURY B.C.
Honey was poured over thresholds and stones bearing commemorative offerings. Honey and wine were also poured over bolts that were to be used in sacred buildings.
GREECE: 7TH CENTURY B.C.
An ancient custom was the offering of honey to the gods and to spirits of the dead. Mead, an alcohol drink made with honey, was considered the drink of the gods.
GERMANY: 11TH CENTURY A.D.
German beer was sweetened with honey. German peasants were required to give their feudal lords a payment of honey and beeswax.
AMERICAS: 16TH CENTURY A.D.
Conquering Spaniards found that the natives of Mexico and Central America had already developed beekeeping. A distinct family of stingless bees (not true honey bees) was native to these regions.
AMERICAN COLONIES: 17TH CENTURY A.D.
European settlers introduced European honey bees to New England in about 1638. North American natives called these honey bees the “white man’s flies.” Honey was used to prepare food and beverages, to make cement, to preserve fruits, to concoct furniture paste-polish and varnish and for medicinal purposes.