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A few things you might not know about bees

  • The European honey bee is just one of more than 250 bee species found in the UK, which is home to 24 different bumblebees and a host of other winged pollinators.
  • Worker bees do so much more than forage for food. Their other duties include circulating air with their wings to cool the colony, feeding larvae, collecting pollen and nectar from foragers, and guarding the entrance to the hive.
  • The flowers a bee visits have a big impact on the honey it produces. Bright yellow rapeseed flowers, for example, create a pale, creamy honey that sets hard while heather makes a darker, thicker honey.
  • Bees are all about the 'girl power'. Infertile females make up the huge majority of the colony (and do all the work) with a few male 'drone' bees existing to fertilise emerging virgin queens. Once summer is over those males are kicked out by the workers as the colony prepares for winter.
  • In a flat race a bee would beat a milk float; their average speed is up to 20 miles an hour, but this drops to just 12 miles per hour once they're laden with pollen and nectar from their foraging activities.
  • Bees don't sleep at night. Instead they take mini catnaps throughout the day, resting between their busy work of collecting nectar, pollen, water and sap (which they use to make propolis – the sterile 'glue' that seals gaps around the hive).