What you should know about Bees….

It doesn’t matter if you’re fascinated by bees or run at the sight of them, bees play a vital role in our ecosystem by pollinating plants and humans enjoy the fruits of their hard labour.

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Given the vital role these bees play in our lives, here are things you should know about bees. 

The oldest bee fossil is 100 million years old.

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In 2006, researchers from Oregon State University found a bee fossil in Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley that dates back 100 million years. The bee fossil was preserved in amber and is believed to be one of the oldest fossils on record. 

There are more than 20,000 species of bees.

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These species of bees include honeybees, bumblebees, and many other fly-like and wasp-like creatures.

A queen bee can live up to five years and lays two thousand eggs.

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With a lifespan of up to five years, queen honeybees live far longer than the worker or drone honey bees. As the only fertile female in a hive, she can lay up to 2,000 eggs daily. By contrast, workers, live for just five or six weeks. 

Bees produce substances other than honey.

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Bees secrete beeswax from abdominal glands and use it to build honeycomb. They also create “bee bread,” or edible pollen, which is a blend of pollen and honey. They can also make a gluey substance called propolis.

There are over 100,000 beekeepers in the US alone.

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The practise of beekeeping is a 9,000-year-old tradition. Some of the world’s first beekeepers were prehistoric farmers.

In the US, the majority are hobbyists (anyone with less than 25 hives).

Bees may be able to differentiate between different human faces.

Image ref: BBC Focus Science

The outcome of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in 2010, reveals that researchers were able to train bees to differentiate between a set of human faces with close-together features and a set with more spread-out features. The bees were rewarded with sugar for picking one category over the other.

Bees communicate via their movements.

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According to Live Science, Honeybees communicate with each other via physical movements like head butts, which researchers say could mean “stop,” and waggle dances that could signal where the nest is. 

Bee colonies around the world are disappearing due to climate.

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Like every other life on earth, climate change is hurting bee colonies, leading to reductions in the geographic range of bumblebees in different parts of the world.

These losses are primarily due to decreasing crop diversity, poor beekeeping practices, pesticides, and loss of habitat caused by human activity and natural disasters.

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