While I was never a huge fan of the TV show Cheers, I did have a certain fondness for the character Cliff Clavin. Cliff had the ability to spew out useless trivia like no one else (well, except for me). Like Cliff, when I stumble upon information I find interesting, I assume that everyone else will find it equally interesting.
So with my best Cliff Clavin voice, here are a few facts you may not (but should) know about honey bees.
- During the summer, a colony of honey bees has a population of 30,000 to 60,000 bees.
- A worker bee (always a female) usually lives a few months (less while large amounts of nectar or pollen are being gathered).
- A single honey bee can produce approximately 1 ½ teaspoons of honey in her lifetime.
- Honey bees can fly 2-3 miles away from a hive to collect nectar.
- To produce a pound of honey, a colony of bees will log approximately 55,000 miles to collect enough nectar.
- If a honey bee could fly around the entire world, she would require only a single ounce of honey for fuel.
- The queen bee can lay her weight in eggs in one 24 hour period.
- A honey bee can only sting once (and then she will die).
- The male bee (called a drone) does not forage. His only purpose is to breed with a virgin queen, and after a successful mating, he dies.
- It takes about 600-800 stings from honey bees to kill a 200 lb. person.
Don’t you feel smarter?
One last thought – Consider the size of a worker honey bee and the relative size of her brain. How is it that her tiny bee brain can create and store a perfect mental map of a 3 mile radius of her colony (18,000 acres)? Not only can she create a map, but she can communicate to other workers via a “waggle dance” the location of a recent food find (both distance and direction).
Sometimes I think we humans aren’t living up to our potential.