The honeybee is the only insect that produces food eaten by humans. It is also the only creature that does not kill another living thing during its entire life unless attacked or threatened.
A beehive maintains a 93ºF temperature year round, regardless if it is -20º or 110º outside. The bees do this by clustering around the queen in the winter and “shivering” to create warmth. They rotate from the edge of the cluster toward the center so all the bees remain sufficiently warm. In the summer, the bees line up at the opening of the hive and fan their wings to create a cooling breeze in the hive.
A typical worker honeybee will live for approximately 42 days (longer in winter). As she ages she will serve her colony as a housecleaner, nurse, guard, food packer, builder, undertaker and a forager. During her entire lifetime she will only produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey and fly approximately 500 miles before she wears out and dies.
Workers bees will visit 2,000,000 flowers and fly 55,000 miles to make just 1 pound of honey. Foragers may make 10 trips a day and will visit 50 – 100 of the exact same type of flower per trip. This makes honeybees responsible for 80% of all pollination and provides us with 95 different fruits and vegetables that would not exist without them.
Honeybees taste with their feet, smell with their antennae, have hair on their 5 eyes, see the color red as black, see ultraviolet colors, beat their wings over 11,000 times/min and fly up to15 mph. They are the only bees that sting only once and then die. They will normally warn their victim by bumping up against them to try to fend off the threat before finally stinging. Unless Africanized, honeybees only sting in defense and are not aggressive.
The queen can lay up to 2000 eggs per day (her approximate body weight) in the heat of summer. She is unable to clean or feed herself and relies entirely on attendants for her survival. If the hive decides to swarm, the bees will chase the queen around the hive so she looses sufficient weight to fly.
Mead, wine made from honey, is the most ancient fermented beverage. The term "honey moon" originated with the Norse practice of consuming large quantities of Mead during the first month of a marriage. Read more honey facts.