1. Of the 20,000 or so known species of bees, honeybees represent only a small portion.
2. Honeybees are on the decline, as are most of our Native bees and pollinators. Pesticide use is thought to be the main reason but mites, wax-moths, and small hive beetles share some blame too.
3. Bees in general are a lot smarter than we would expect, some species are able to count and some species have figured out how to solve puzzles to gain rewards and other bees have learned to watch those bees in order to gain those same rewards.
4. Each honeybee inside the hive has a set task, each task is based on how old the bee is. From cleaning (1-2 days), to nurse bee (3-11 days), to building wax (12-17 days), to worker tasks (17-22 days) to foraging (22-42 days). With many tasks broken down inside those days, from fanning the hive to cool it down, to guarding the entrances to make sure enemies don't get in.
5. We don't know 100% what goes on inside of a hive, we know that bees dance to communicate (and when they run into each other in the dark hive they emit a 'whoop whoop' sound) we would love to know more about them, to be a bee on the wall of a hive!
As a side note, if you are wondering what you can do to help the bees there are some very easy things:
- Try to buy plants without pesticides.
- Try to buy native plants. The Cincinnati Zoo has a farm in Mason called ECOHIO and they have a plant sale with native plants sold without pesticides. Farm info:
- If you live in an area without a HOA let the dandelions grow in your yard (yes we know some people find them to be an eyesore but they are great for pollinators!)
- It can be hard for bees to find fresh sources of water (this is why you sometimes find them floating in pools) Bees can't swim very easily so they need to be able to land and comfortably drink without falling in. A small lid filled with fresh water and marbles or a bird bath works just as well if you have a side you can make super shallow for them.
- A Mason bee hive is a great way of providing for native bees, especially if you don't have the time to maintain a honeybee hive.