Beauty and the Bees….

It’s a sure thing that bees pollinate our crops and give us honey. But there’s so much more to these buzzing insects than just that.

Image ref: House Beautiful

There are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world. These bees live in colonies that houses the queen bee, the worker bee and the drone. The worker bee and the queen bee are both female, but only the queen bee can reproduce. All drones in the colonies are male. These bees don’t just sleep, wake up and look for what to eat. They work as well. Worker bees clean the hive, collect pollen and nectar to feed the colony and they take care of the offspring. The drone’s only job is to mate with the queen while the queen’s only job is to lay eggs. 

Here are some more beautiful facts about these wonderful insects;

Bee stings have some benefits:

Image ref: Mississippi Today

Those who have been stung by a bee wouldn’t want to remember what the experience. However, some studies claim that a toxin in bee venom called melittin may prevent HIV. Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus’s protective envelope. Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis hope the toxin can be used in preventative gels.

Bee stings may also ease pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found that molecules in bee venom increase your body’s level of glucocorticoid, an anti-inflammatory hormone.

Bees are changing medicine:

Honeybees on honeycomb

To reinforce their hives, bees use a resin from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. It is basically beehive glue. Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, herpes, sore throat, cavities, and even eczema.

Bees can recognize human faces:

Image ref: Rethink Canada

Isn’t it wonderful that honeybees make out faces the same way we do? They take parts such as eyebrows, lips, and ears to make out the whole face. Scientists call this call this “configural processing,” and it might help computer scientists improve face recognition technology.

They recognise royalty:

Image ref: Arizona State University

If the queen bee dies, workers will create a new queen by selecting a young larva , that is the newly hatched baby insects and feeding it a special food called “royal jelly“. This enables the larva to develop into a fertile queen.

Other beautiful facts about bees include;

  • The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
  • A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour, according to calculations, it would have to fly around 90,000 miles -three times around the globe – to make one pound of honey.
  • It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
  • Honey is 80 per cent sugars and 20 per cent water.
  • Honey bees must consume about 17-20 pounds of honey to be able to biochemically produce each pound of beeswax.
  • A populous colony may contain 40,000 to 60,000 bees during the late spring or early summer.
  • The queen bee lives for about 2-3 years. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2,500 eggs per day during her lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees
  • The queen may mate with up to 17 drones over a 1-2 day period of mating.
  • Worker honey bees live for about 4 weeks in the spring or summer but up to 6 months during the winter.
  • The average honey bee will actually make only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • Honey bees fly at up to 15 miles per hour. Its wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.

Aren’t these insect wonderful creatures? Next time you scoop a spoon of honey, take some time to appreciate the bees who made that jar of honey possible.

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