Thirteen things you probably didn’t know about bees!
The queen is not the ruler!
Yes that’s right, it’s not the queen that rules the hive. Although she may seem to be the boss, in fact she has a smaller brain than the worker bees and is little more than an egg-laying machine. It’s the other bees that tell her what to do!
Bees are NOT declining in Australia.
Bees are in serious decline all over the world, due to a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, or CCD. The likely culprit is the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, which sucks the bees’ blood and spreads disease. We are indeed lucky that Australia is the only continent (excepting Antarctica) to be free of this pest, and our bees are the healthiest in the world!
Boy bees only get to have sex once!
Male bees, or more correctly drones, hang out with the other guys at congregational sites waiting for a queen to fly past. In a bizarre form of ‘speed dating’ multiple drones will end up mating with the queen, but as soon as they do it’s all over, because immediately after this ‘rough sex’ they will die!
Not everyone loves bees!
Apiphobia, also known as melissophobia, is an extreme fear of bees or bee stings! For some people, this fear is justified, because roughly 2% of the population are allergic to bee stings, and a single sting means a trip straight to hospital!
Honey can be toxic!
I’m not referring to the stuff that a big Aussie importer brings in from China! Honey is full of fructose, and fructose malabsorption, formerly known as ‘dietary fructose intolerance’ (or DFI), is a digestive condition in which the normal absorption of fructose is impaired in the small intestine. This disorder was first identified in 1956.
The bee’s knees.
The expression was coined in the 1920s by an American cartoonist named Tad Dorgan, who also graced the language with such corny epithets as ‘the cat’s pajamas’, ‘the flea’s eyebrows’ and – a real clunker – ‘the canary’s tusks’!
Crystallised honey has not gone off!
In fact, honey is the only natural food for us humans that does not have a shelf life!
Bees’ wings stroke faster than the engine of a Ferrari!
The buzz that you hear when a bee approaches is the sound of its four wings moving at around 11,400 strokes per minute. Bees can fly an average of 15 miles per hour.
Bees are working class critters with a variety of occupations, including undertakers!
Worker bees have strictly regimented roles. Some fulfil the function of undertakers; dragging their dead siblings from the hive.
Bees can recognise a human face!
If you do suffer from apiphobia, don’t be too hasty to swat that bee! A honey bee brain has just a million neurons, compared with the 100 billion in a human brain. But researchers report that bees can recognise faces, and they even do so in the same way we do.
Honey bees are aware the world is round and can calculate angles!
Scientists have worked out that the bees’ waggle dance is all about transmitting precise spatial information regarding the location of foraging sites!
Honey is the only food that includes all the ingredients necessary to sustain life!
Honey incorporates enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water – and it’s the only food to contain pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning, and with the potential to treat a variety of diseases.
The bee’s brain is about the size of a sesame seed!
Yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations based upon distance and direction!