animal

10 Amazing Things About Bees That You Never Knew Before

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

There are so many amazing things happening in nature every single day of our lives, and we’ll never even see or hear about the majority of it — unless, of course, we’ve devoted our whole lives to studying the plants and creatures around us.

Bees are some of the most incredible, tiny beings on our planet. Without them, we’d be totally lost, because they are one of the main reasons that our crops and greenery can bloom.

In recent years, more and more people have become aware of how important bees are to us, and are rightfully advocating for their protection and well-being. Yet most of us still don’t know much about what goes on inside of the hive. I’ll tell you one thing: there’s a ton of activity happening behind those walls.

These 10 facts about bees and the lives they lead will definitely give you a further appreciation for these unbelievably hardworking insects.

Have you ever been afraid of bees? Maybe you’ll finally change your tune after reading these impressive facts.

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Thumbnail source: Wikimedia Commons

1. The Queen Used To Be Known As The King

1. The Queen Used To Be Known As The King

Until the 1660s, people thought that the big bee in the hive was a male and called him the king. Then a Dutch scientist named Jan Swammerdam took it upon himself to dissect one, finding ovaries and thus changing the name.

2. Male Drone Bees Live Only To Mate With The Queen

2. Male Drone Bees Live Only To Mate With The Queen

After they do that, they meet the end of their lives, because their lower abdomen ruptures when their endophallus is left inside the queen. These male bees are called drones, and if there is a food shortage in the hive, the worker bees kick them out first.

3. Worker Bees Are Willing To Die For Their Sisters

3. Worker Bees Are Willing To Die For Their Sisters

Bees have been known to defend their hive from dangers, like wasps, in order to protect the rest of the bees inside — even to the death.

4. There Are Specific Bees That Remove The Dead From The Hive

4. There Are Specific Bees That Remove The Dead From The Hive

Each bee has a very specific job to fulfill, like building the comb or storing food, but one job is that of the undertaker. These bees respond to the scent of the dead inside the hive and remove them so that the narrow space doesn’t get jammed up.

5. New Queen Bees Must Fight To The Death

5. New Queen Bees Must Fight To The Death

Once the reigning queen passes away, the workers raise a new queen. However, they make multiple new queens at the same time, and if two of them hatch simultaneously, they must fight to the death.

A queen that doesn’t have to fight to the death still has to kill the unborn queens. Pictured above is a newly hatched queen stinging an unhatched queen.

6. Bee Wings Move Unbelievably Fast

6. Bee Wings Move Unbelievably Fast

Scientists spent years trying to figure out how bees use their wings to fly, before finally finding that it’s due to their very rapid wingbeat. Bees flap their wings at 230 times per second with a ton of power, but they aren’t as efficient when flying conditions are less than ideal, like when carrying a heavy load.

7. Bees Can Recognize Faces

7. Bees Can Recognize Faces

Bees have been found to be capable of recognizing and distinguishing between faces, both of humans and other bees. If you’re mean to a bee once, that bee could very well recognize you later.

8. The Queen Only Mates At One Time In Her Life

8. The Queen Only Mates At One Time In Her Life

The mating process can last a couple of days, and during that time she may mate with around 70 drone bees. However, she only does this once in her life. The sperm she collects is kept in a special organ and the reserves are used for her remaining years as queen.

9. Honey Bees Aren't The Only Kind Of Bee

9. Honey Bees Aren't The Only Kind Of Bee

There are about 20,000 different species of bees out there, not just the honey bee. Additionally, not all species live in hives as social bees. In fact, many other varieties are independent insects.

10. Bees Are Not The Original Pollinators

10. Bees Are Not The Original Pollinators

Before bees’ bodies evolved to be specialized pollen collectors, other insects, like beetles, pollinated flowers in much smaller numbers. As time went on, both flowers and bees evolved to get better at pollination and gathering nectar.

Did you know any of these amazing facts about bees before? Please SHARE with family and friends on Facebook!