There's a lot to being busy as a bee

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • The blood of a honeybee never clots.
  • Bees maintain a temperature of 33 ºC in their central brood nest regardless of whether the outside temperature is 40 ºC or -40 ºC.
  • Honeybees can fly up to 14 kilometres from their nest in search of food. Usually, however, they fly up to three kilometres away from their hive to forage on flowers.
  • Honeybees are entirely herbivorous when they forage for nectar and pollen but can cannibalise their own brood when stressed.
  • A bee can travel 6.5 million km at 11 kph on the energy it obtains from 3.785 litres of nectar.
  • The average bee can travel up to 24 kph.
  • Honeybees navigate using the sun as a compass, even when it is hidden behind clouds - they find it via the polarisation of ultraviolet light from areas of blue sky.
  • When a queen bee lays the fertilised eggs that will develop into new queens, only one of the newly laid queens actually survives. The first new queen that emerges from her cell destroys all other queens in their cells and, thereafter, reigns alone.
  • An average bee hive has 30,000 to 60,000 bees living in it. This population is easily maintained by a queen laying 1,000 to 3,000 eggs on a single day.
  • The first week as an adult worker, honeybees clean the hive. By the second week, they feed the young. The third week, they make and repair wax cells in the hive. By the fourth week, they have begun guarding the hive, and finally, they will visit flowers for pollen and nectar from the fifth week until they die.
  • The queen bee lives for up to two years. The drone, whose only job is to mate with the queen bee, has a lifespan of around 24 days and has no stinger. Worker bees - all sterile females - usually work themselves to death within 40 days, collecting pollen and nectar.
  • Only about one drone, or male bee, in 1,000 gets to mate with the queen bee in a given colony.
  • Male bees remain in the hive, their only mission in life being to fertilise the queen bee on her maiden flight. After they have served their function, the males are not allowed back into the hive but are left outside, where they starve to death.
  • Honeybees are sometimes called "white man's flies" because they were brought to North America by European colonists.
  • Although bees' wings seem too small to enable flight, their rapid beats of over 100 times a second allow them to move forward, backward and up and down.
  • A queen honeybee can control the flow of sperm to fertilise an egg when she is about to lay an egg.
  • Honeybees have an unusual genetic sex determination system known as haplodiploidy. Worker bees are produced from fertilised eggs and have a full (double) set of chromosomes. The males, or drones, develop from unfertilised eggs and are thus haploid with only a single set of chromosomes.
  • Bees can see ultraviolet light.
  • Bees do not hear very well through air, but they have sense organs on their legs that help them hear through solids.
  • To sting, a bee uses 22 muscles.
  • The brain of a worker honeybee is about a cubic millimetre but has the densest neuropile tissue of any animal.
  • Honeybees have hair on their eyes.
  • A bee has five eyes, two large compound eyes on either side of its head, and three ocelli (primitive eyes) on top of its head to detect light intensity.
  • Bee experts say honeybees are totally blind to the colour red.
  • In the Spanish Pyrenees, when a beekeeper dies, each of his bees is splashed with a drop of black ink.

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