Facts About Bees to Make Your Brain Buzz July 26 2014

Our new bee sign ( http://bit.ly/1o5Wa44 ) is keeping us busy as it flies out of our buzzing Honeymellow workshop.  This is good news for us not only because we love what we do but it also means that there are a lot of beekeepers about who are nurturing these precious miracle workers.  As well as providing honey bees are important to us because:

  1. Honey bees can fly up to six miles and visit about 2000 flowers per day to collect nectar and pollen; plus doing the very important job of fertilising the flower at the same time. It is no wonder that the life expectancy of a honeybee can be just six weeks as it is at risk of being eaten by predators or dies of exhaustion.
  2. Bees have amazing senses which includes the ability to detect ultra violet light with its five eyes and to be able to differentiate between flowers with its sense of smell identifying whether it carries pollen or nectar.  Each colony has a unique smell so its members can identify it. Furthermore it can fly up to 15 miles per hour and has an amazing memory even though it has a brain the size of a sesame seed.  They have one weakness: they cannot see the colour red.
  3. They buzz and do a 'waggle dance'. Honeybees’ buzz is caused by the flapping of its wings at about 200 beats per second.  They also do a ‘waggle dance’ to let the other workers know the location, quality and quantity of nectar.
  4. Bees are great team players, all contribute to the work of the hive and huddle together to keep each other warm in winter whilst living off their stores of honey. Although within a colony of up to 60,000 honeybees work is not equally divided: female honeybees are the workers and live for only six weeks; even the queen is busy laying 2500 eggs per day in the summer months and lives for 5 year.  In contrast the male honeybees or drones, have no sting, do no work and just mate.  
  5. It is the only insect that produces food we eat. The many varieties of honey depend on the flowers used to make it.  Honey could be described as a superfood as it contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, water as well as the antioxidant, pinocembrin which enhances brain function.  We rely on bees to pollinate a third of the plants we eat.
  6. 1 billion kilograms of honey are produced by bees annually which seems incredible when you consider each bee produces barely a twelfth of a teaspoon in its lifetime.
  7. Honey seems to last forever - well as long as you don’t smother it on steaming toast until the jar’s finished.  It has no sell-by date so will keep for years, centuries and even millenniums.
  8. They make us wealthy and keep us alive. If you are one of the 23% of us who are bothered by bees (only 6% of us are ever stung by a bee or wasp), and cannot see their value, in monetary terms in the UK alone, the resulting goods they pollinate is worth £1 billion to the British economy alone.  In term so life expectancy, apparently if all bees were wiped out, humans would struggle to exist beyond four years without the food they provide. 

So how do we make sure bees continue to thrive in our garden?  There are very simple things that can be done to help these miracle workers.  The easiest is to let your lawn grow and leave parts of your garden wild.  You will be inadvertently feeding the bees with the wild flowers that grow.  Avoid using pesticides and disturbing nests too. When planning your garden, choose plants which are rich in nectar and pollen: you will benefit from bright array of colours, the soporific scents and thousands of busy workers nurturing your garden. 

You should also take the opportunity to join the annual Great British Bee count.  Download the free app at: http://greatbritishbeecount.co.uk , sit-back, smell the flowers and start counting.