16 AmazingFacts About Bees
23rd September, 2020
Bees play a vital role in keeping life going on this planet. You could call them the VIPs – Very Important Pollinators - of the insect world.
Flowers and bees go hand-in-hand - without flowers, bees wouldn't be able to get the nectar and pollen they need as a food source. Without bees, flowers would struggle to grow and thrive. We're here to help shine a light on our fuzzy friends with some amazing facts about bees.
THERE ARE 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES
That's, well...that's a lot of bees. That number does cover bees around the world but is sadly going down every day because of increasing habitat loss and climate change.
In the UK alone, we've lost 13 different species of these fuzzy critters since 1900.
But don't panic – you can help! Do your bit by making your outside space as inviting as possible for all types of insects. Pick up – or make, if you're the crafty sort – an insect hotel that can be hung on a fence or by populating your garden with flowers and plants that bees love.
NOT ALL BEES STING
How many times have you run away from a bee, who was just minding its own business, because you didn’t want to get stung? Well, you may have been making a hasty exit for no reason.
One little-known fact is that only female bees can sting – #girlpower – and not all bees die after stinging a person either!
In fact, only the honey bee dies if it uses its sting. This is because it has a barbed sting which it leaves it behind along with its abdomen, muscles and nerves. Sounds like something from a horror movie, right?
With this in mind, it's time to spread the word – bees don't want to harm us! They just want to get their job done, collecting pollen and nectar to feed their entire colony. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS DEPEND ON BEES
Bees have a very important role in keeping the world fed – they’re not here to just produce honey (more on that later).
Bees are pollinators. So if you love your fruit and veg – think apples, cranberries, melons and broccoli – you can thank our little buzzing friends for helping them to grow.
Some foods rely on honey bees quite a lot. Blueberries, for example, are 90% dependent on bees to pollinate them and without these fuzzy insects, we'd be in trouble. Or would definitely struggle to enjoy blueberries in our porridge in the morning.
12 BEES MAKE JUST ONE TEASPOON OF HONEY
BEES CAN’T SEE RED
According to research, if you want to make the perfect garden for our little bees, the best colours to feature are purple, violet and blue. Some of the best plants include:
THEIR ‘BUZZ’ COMES FROM THEIR WINGS
BEES PRODUCE THE ONLY FOOD MADE BY AN INSECT THAT CAN BE EATEN BY HUMANS
THEY CAN COVER 1,500 FLOWERS IN A DAY
In one day, a worker bee can visit 1,500 flowers to collect 0.5g of nectar. They can fly for up to six miles reaching speeds as fast as 15mph! That's faster than your old moped you had when you were a teenager. A bee would need to fly 90,000 miles to create just one pound of honey but when they make their trip, they don’t complete it in one go. Instead, they will leave the hive around 15 times a day and visit around 100 flowers on each trip. For 454g of honey, it will take around two million flowers. Pretty impressive, we'd say.
BEES SOMETIMES NEED A LITTLE HELP
While they work with military precision, bees sometimes need our help. As well as making your garden bee-friendly with plants, if you live in an area which has little natural habitats for bees `– such as some new housing estates which haven’t planted trees yet – you can add a bee hotel into your garden. These handy little houses provide much-need shelter for our stripey friends.
Solitary bees, for example, can only fly a few hundred metres (not that far in comparison to the honey bee) and as their name suggests, they're loners who don’t have colonies to return to.
So having resting zones can be a big help. Grow plenty of flowers around your bee hotel so your guests can get food on-site and they'll also create an attractive space in your garden.