Most of us know that honey is good for us but few people are aware of just how remarkable the bee is and just what's it's capable of. On our Beekeeping for Beginners courses I get a huge amount of satisfaction watching the child-like wonder spread across the faces of our delegates as they watch and listen in awe.
Here are my favourite honeybee facts:
The queen bee lays as many as 2,000 eggs per day
While the queen can live up to 4 years, worker bees live only about a month
One bee makes up to 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime
Only the female bees sting (including the queen) - the male "drone" bees don't have a sting
It takes approximately 2 million trips to flowers in order to produce 1 pound of honey
Delightfully quaint and artisan, honey is still referred to in pounds
They spend most of their time foraging; flying between the hive and sites of pollen and can reach altitudes of more than 18,000 feet!
The 'waggle dance' is a dance-like ritual workers use to communicate to other bees the exact location of good pollen sources (like a field of oil seed rape, for example). The dance tells the bees the distance in kilometres away from the hive and at what degree angle to the sun's current position.
Perhaps unsurprisingly after all that activity, honeybees do sleep.
There is fossil evidence showing that honeybees existed 150 million years ago.