Honeybees live according to a strict hierarchy

Honeybees live according to a strict hierarchy

There are three types of honeybees: queens, workers and drones. There’s only one queen, and she’s typically the largest and longest-living individual within a hive. Worker bees are all female and the only bees with stingers. And while workers are genetically identical to the queen, only the crown can lay eggs.

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Bees can remember human faces — and 7 other surprising facts about these important insects

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It’s not too late to save bees — and YOU can help

Fortunately, you can take action to help bees where you live. With just a smartphone and a willingness to learn, you can contribute to various citizen science projects.

Your own backyard is another place to start:

  1. Plant more wildflowers.
  2. Don’t use pesticides that harm bees and apply them before flowering begins.
  3. If you live in the city, set up or join a community rooftop garden.

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Bees can remember human faces

Bees may have brains the size of poppy seeds, but they’re able to pick out individual features on human faces and recognize them during repeat interactions.

In one study, scientists paired images of human faces with sugar-laced water and found that bees recognized and remembered faces associated with the sweet reward — even when the reward was absent.

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Some bee species defend their hives with giant balls of heat

Using their wings, bees can fan hot air out of the hive to cool an area or vibrate their flight muscles to heat it. 

Scientists have observed Japanese honeybees create a giant ball around the hive-invading, bee-eating Asian giant hornets to use the same hive-heating techniques to cook the invader alive.

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Bees help farmers grow better food and keep food prices down

Bees are highly-efficient pollinators and are essential to plant diversity. When bees are employed to pollinate crops such as avocados, blueberries and cucumbers, fruit yields and weight increase dramatically compared to crops grown in the absence of bees or other pollinators.

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Scientists use bees to study serial killers

Criminologists developed a statistical technique called geographic profiling (GP). Based on the locations of the crimes, police can make educated guesses about where a suspect might live or visit regularly.

Bees avoid detection by predators and parasites by creating a distraction zone — they leave flowers closest to their nest entrance untouched and feed further away from the hive.

They found that bees’ foraging patterns were as reliable and predictable as humans.

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There are bees that can age backwards — really!

When there’s a lack of young worker bees, older bees can revert to their more energetic, younger selves to take on the task. In fact, these bees end up living longer to pick up the slack.

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Bees put the honey in honeymoon

As a part of Nordic marriage rites during the 5th century, it’s believed that it was a tradition for newlywed couples to consume copious amounts of mead (a fermented honey drink) during the first full moon cycle, or month, of marriage. The practice is one of several proposed origins of the honeymoon’s etymology.

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Most species of bees are found to be solitary workers, not socializing with other bees. Various other species of bees have hybrid features, with different populations behaving either solitary or socially. Some even change their behaviour based on the weather.

Anti-social behaviour of bees in nature leads to self-sufficiency in their 'work performance', and many opt out of the 'hive' as they need to grow faster than the others.

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When It's Good to Be Antisocial - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus

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Where honey comes from
  • Honey is made by bees. Bees eat nectar, a sugar-rich liquid that is produced by flowers.
  • The bee stores most of the nectar in their "honey stomach." At the hive, bees regurgitate the nectar, blowing bubbles to evaporate the water. They also mix the nectar with their digestive enzymes, which break down the sugar, starch, and protein in the nectar, making it more acidic.
  • Then the bees deposit the nectar into the honeycomb, where more water evaporates, and add caps to the honeycomb to seal the honey inside, ready for later consumption by larvae or adults when food is scarce.
  • Beekeepers remove some honeycomb from hives and spin it to extract the thick liquid from inside. They filter out any beeswax or other debris, then bottle it.

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Science Monday: Why Does Honey Last (Literally) Forever?

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The Most Coveted  Honey

Manuka honey from New Zealand is the world’s most coveted honey. It’s supposedly unique healing properties make it a high-demand consumable in the elite circles. It is derived from the nectar of a native bush called leptospermum scoparium and is has been enjoying a boom in popularity in the last 30 years. 

In 2017 for example, the annual shipment of the manuka honey industry was $270 million.

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The Wild Story of Manuka, the World's Most Coveted Honey

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