Fun Facts About Honeybees

Honeybees have been in existence for over 30 million years.

Honeybees are the only insect that produces food eaten by humans.

Honeybees are the only creatures that do not have to kill or maim to live.

Eight (8) fl oz of honey takes 570 honeybees, visiting 1,000,000 flowers!

Each honeybee produces 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime

It requires eight pounds of nectar to create one pound of comb.

Honeybees collect 66 lbs of pollen, per year, per hive.

Honeybees can fly up to 5 miles from their hive.

Honeybees can carry loads of nectar heavier than their own body weight.

Each honeybee hive has its own unique odor.

It requires 7 parts honey to produce 1 part wax.

Honeybees communicate with a dance, using the angle of the sun as a reference.

Honeybees do not like the scent of bananas or meat.

Honeybees require a minimum of 60 lbs of honey to successfully survive the winter.

Swarming is a natural way for the bees to increase their population/reproduce.

Nine out of ten stings are actually delivered by wasps, not honeybees.

The oldest known apiary was discovered in Israel & dates back 3000 years.

The Queen Honeybee

The queen releases a pheromone that the bees come to know & respond to.

The queen is mother to all the bees in her hive.

The queen is capable of laying 1500-2500 eggs per day!

The queen must remain at 93 degrees all year around.

The queen is able to sting more than once (generally only stings rival queens).

The queen is the only bee fed royal jelly her entire gestation (16 days).

An African bee hatches one day earlier than other queen bees allowing her to kill any unborn queens.

Queens can live up to 5 years.


The Worker Bees (female honeybees)

Worker bees cannot lay fertilized eggs and are only capable of rearing drones.

Worker bees dictate all the activity of the hive, including the queen’s.

Worker bees rear the new queen using an egg laid by the old/existing queen.

Worker bees can only sting mammals once due to the pliability of skin – they can sting other insects repeatedly.

The job of the worker bee is dictated by her age, the most dangerous is foraging.

Worker bees live an average of 2-6 months (literally work themselves to death, wearing out their wings).

The Drones (male honeybees)

Drones make up only 1 in 100 bees in a hive.

They do not work or forage for the hive.

The primary purpose of the drone is fertilization of the queen.

Drones that survive the summer are kicked out or stung to death in the fall.

Drones are unable to sting.

What can you do to help?

Plant bee friendly foliage in your yard

If you find a swarm, do not harm or spray the bees. Call for a beekeeper to collect the swarm (bee association, CSBA)

Teach children not to be afraid of bees – be calm and walk away

Good Books:

Honeybee Democracy, by Thomas D. Seeley

Life of Bee, by Maurice Materlinck

The Dancing Bees – An account of the life and senses of the honeybee, by Karl von Frisch

The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men, by William Longgood

The Backyard Beekeeper, by Kim Flottum

Beekeeping for Dummies, by Howland Blackiston

Attracting Native Pollinators – Xerces Society (

Colorado State Beekeepers Association (CSBA) –

Bee Health Information:,