9 Fun Facts about Bees and Beekeeping

Bees on a frame

Since starting our beekeeping adventure, I’ve learned so much about these fascinating little creatures.  They are so much more complex than I had ever imagined.  I thought I would share some of the fun facts I’ve learned over the past few months.

Fun Facts About Bees and Beekeeping:

  1. You order bees by the pound.  We ordered 3 lbs of bees (see the box in this post) to start our hive, which ends up being 10,000 bees or so, plus one queen bee.
  2. Though not totally proven, you shouldn’t eat bananas or drink beer right before going into your hive.  It is said that these scents smell like the pheromone the bees give off when they are on high alert.
  3. One hive of bees can make up to 100 lbs of honey a year – yum!
  4. Bees are very clean creatures.  They take cleansing flights to clean off the pollen and honey from their bodies and also use the bathroom rather than go inside the hive.
  5. A swarm of bees isn’t something to fear.  It is actually when bees are most vulnerable and docile.  Bees swarm when there are too many of them in one hive. Half of the bees stay in the hive and raise a new queen while the other half take the current queen and leave to find another hive location.
  6. The worker bees make all the decisions for the hive, even when to start raising a new queen or when and where to swarm to.
  7. Though I haven’t been stung yet, it is certain to happen at some time while working with my bees. This is okay though because the venom in bee stings is actually good for you and is believed to help with joint pain, arthritis, hay fever, gout, and more.  You can read more about the uses of bee venom on the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center site.
  8. Male bees are called drones.  They are bigger than the female worker bees and have no stingers.  They actually only have one job – mate with the queen and then die.
  9. Bees create a good amount of heat by continually moving their little bodies, which is how they can survive the winter. They actually have bees that have the specific job of being “heaters” – you can read more on that here, How Honey Bees Keep Their Hives Warm Given That They Are Cold-Blooded.

 

 

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