Fun Facts about Honey Bees and Honey -- National Honey Bee Day!

By Boris  Smokrovic borisworkshop ( [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Today (August 18) is National Honey Bee Day. It is the third Saturday in August each year since 2010. (It was the fourth Saturday in the first year, 2009.)Why do these buzzing little stingers deserve a special day? Well the numbers of honey bees is way down and life without these little flying miracles would be awful for us all. There has been so much out there about helping the bees. I thought today I would share some fun facts about these amazing pollinators and the delicious food they make themselves (besides all the food they help grow for us).

Fun Facts about Honey Bees

  1.  If the queen dies the worker bees will make a new queen by choosing a new larva and feeding it royal jelly to make her fertile.
  2. Honey bees fly about 15 mph and beat their wings 200 times per second. It is their wings that make the buzzing sound. They will only travel about 3 miles from their hives. They visit 50 to 100 flowers each trip out of the hive.

  3. Abejas 01 (3879998267)
    Bees By Ferran Pestaña from Barcelona, España (Abejas 01) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

  4. In the summer months a queen bee lays up to 2500 eggs a day.
  5. Apis Mellifera Carnica Queen Bee in the hive
    Queen Bee in Hive By Levi Asay [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

  6. The life expectancy of a queen bee is two to three years but can live up to five years. Worker bees (females) have a life span of about six weeks. A drone (male) usually dies after a successful mating dance, however if he has an unsuccessful one he is banished from the hive and will die of hunger or cold.
  7. A hive can have 20,000 to 80,000 worker bees. In her lifetime a worker bee will produce about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.
  8. Bees communicate through dance and smell and have 170 odorant receptors.
  9. Honey bees pollinate about 1/3 of the human diet including approximately 80% of all fruit, vegetables and seed crops in the US. Honey bees produce $150 million worth of honey and beeswax in the US.
  10. Honey bees need to tap 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey. It takes 768 bees who together fly 55,000 miles. A beehive can make up to 400 pounds of honey in a year.
  11. Honey bees are not native to North America. They were brought from Europe. They were to Virginia in 1622 and to Massachusetts between 1630 and 1633. Native Americans refer to them as “white man’s flies” or “English flies.” (Source) Utah is known as the Beehive State. South Dakota, North Dakota, Florida and California are the biggest honey-producing states.
  12. Honey bees are the only bees that die after they sting.
  13. Honey bees have five eyes. Three small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front. They have hair on their eyes.
  14. Honey bees never sleep!
  15. Bees always maintain a temperature of 92-93 degrees Fahrenheit in their central brood nest.

Fun Facts about Honey

  1. Honey makes baked goods brown faster and gives a longer shelf life.
  2. Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water.
  3. Honey is the only food that contains everything needed to sustain life including water.
  4. Honey never spoils. It will crystalize, but you can place jar in boiling water to make it a liquid again.
  5. Out of the 200,000 species of bees, only 4 make honey.
  6. A teaspoon of honey has 21 calories including 6 grams of sugar. It also has magnesium and potassium. Sugar raises blood sugar levels more quickly than honey.
  7. The oldest written reference to honey is thought to be Egyptian from around 5500 BC.
  8. AncientEgyptianRelief-BeeHieroglyph-ROM
    Ancient Egyptian Bee Relief Hieroglyph By Keith Schengili-Roberts (Own Work (photo)) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5 ], via Wikimedia Commons

  9. In Ancient Egypt honey was used in 500 of the 900 remedies known from that time. It was also the only common ingredient in medicines in the Medieval times. It is a common remedy for insomnia. Some research suggests honey is a natural cough suppressant. It is also suggested that having honey each day from a known allergen can help with seasonal allergies.
  10. Texas State Fair honey
    Shades of Honey By Photo: Andreas Praefcke [GFDL or CC BY 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

  11. The flavor of honey depends on what flowers the bee gathers pollen. It also affects the color of the honey.
  12. Honey is the only food that contains pinocembrin, an antioxidant that is associated with improved brain functioning. 
Now over the years I have had the pleasure of reviewing and sharing some great books about bees and featuring bees. So if you would like to share them again in case you would like to get your little ones interested or yourself in helping the honey bees!

1) Egg to Bee for Preschool to Grade 3

2) What on Earth Bees? for Grades 1 to 4

3) Flight of the Honey Bee for Preschool to Grade 2

4) 100 Plants to Feed the Bees for adults and garden planning

5) UnBeelievables poetry book for Kindergarten to Grade 3

6) Bee & Me for ages 2 to 5--wordless book

7) Hour of the Bees for Grades 5 to 9

8) Out of School and Into Nature the Anna Comstack Story teaches about the woman who brought studying nature to the schools including bees!

We also shared some fun bee crafts over the time.

1) Bee Craft Round-Ups pom pom bees, finger puppet bees, Easter egg bees and more!

I also featured a few bee book reviews and crafts from Sharing Saturday over the years. Be sure to check out egg carton beehive and bee from A Little Pinch of Perfect, books that help us be kind to bees from Jump Into a Book, and favorite picture books about bees from Homeschool Preschool. 

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