Magic : The Secret Life of Bees
I went out into the garden very early the other morning and I found this bumblebee curled up motionless in a Michaelmas daisy. I had heard that bees sleep in flowers and this one was holding on tight with one leg curled around a petal. It was a wonderful opportunity to lean in and study it up close.
Bees really are amazing creatures and I think it's true to say we wouldn't be here without them (see no. 2 below). I've had an enjoyable time on Google finding out a bit more about them and thought you might like a few bee facts...
- Bees have 5 eyes.
- Honey bees are responsible for pollinating over a third of our food!
- The UK has 253 recorded species of bee and there are about 25,000 known species of bee worldwide!! (I did go and get my copy of my favourite bee book - see below - to check this fact because it seems so extraordinary.)
- The buzzing we hear is their wings beating 200 times per second.
- A queen bee can lay up to 2,500 eggs per day.
- Honey has antiseptic properties and has been used to treat wounds for centuries.
- Bees communicate with other bees in the hive to let them know where the good sources of nectar are - they do the 'waggle' dance which apparently tells them where the flowers are in relation to the position of the sun and the hive. They also communicate with pheromones.
- An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- The darker the honey, the greater amount of antioxidant properties it has.
- Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, which gives them a sense of smell 50x more powerful than a dog’s. They can even be trained to locate buried land mines.
- A worker bee can carry a load of nectar or pollen equal to 80% of her own body weight.
If you're interested to know more, especially if you like bumblebees, I thoroughly recommend a very readable book called 'A Sting In the Tale' by Dave Goulson.
A pollen-laden bee - the essence of life itself - credit unknown