Wimbledon Beekeepers' Association

A Division of the Surrey Beekeepers' Association

Did You Know?

  • There are more than 20,000 species of bee in the world, but only four of them produce honey.
  • Bees cruise at about 15 mph but can fly at speeds of up to 20 mph
  • Bees never sleep
  • When flying, a bee will beat its wings about 180 times per second
  • The chemical that makes a bee sting itch is called mellitin
  • A bee can see 300 frames per second
  • According to fossil records, bees first appeared on earth about 150 million years ago
  • In the UK there are approximately 44,000 beekeepers looking after around 240,000 hives.

Bumble bees

  • Unlike honeybees, bumble bees only produce enough honey to feed their young and so they have no commercial value
  • The drone (male) bumble bee doesn't have a sting.
  • Despite their size, bumble bees are far less agressive than honeybees and will usually never attack unless they feel threatened.
  • Unlike a honeybee, if a bumble bee does use its sting, it won't die or lose the stinger.
  • Link to The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Honey bees (Latin name 'Apis Mellifera')

  • Honey bees have hair on their eyes
  • A full pollen load weighs about 1/6th of the weight of a bee
  • A full load of nectar weighs about ½ the weight of a bee
  • The oldest known record of humans interest in honeybees is a drawing on a
    cave wall in eastern Spain, which is dated to approximately
    8,000-11,000 years old. It depicts a man climbing a ladder to collect
    honey from a nest. Similar drawings have also been found in caves in
    Zimbabwe and South Africa
  • Ancient records show that beekeeping originated about 6,000 years ago in both China and Egypt
  • The pollen baskets on a honey bee are situated on their legs and are called 'corbicula'
  • Nectar is carried in the crop/honey stomach
  • The average worker bee will fly approximately 500 miles before she wears out and dies
  • A queen bee has to eat 80 times her own weight to produce 2,000 eggs per day
  • A bee will visit 50-100 flowers during one trip
  • Honey can range in colour from white to gold to dark brown and it usually has a stronger taste when it's colour is darker.
  • A bee must tap 2 million flowers to make 1lb of honey and would have to fly 55,000 miles to get it
  • One bee will make 0.8g (1/10 of a teaspoon) of honey during her lifetime
  • Mead is made from fermented honey
  • Drambuie is a scotch liquer which is made from honey
  • Like the male Bumble Bee, drones (males) don't have stings
  • A worker honeybee in summer lives only 6 to 8 weeks
  • A hive can contain up to 70,000 bees in the middle of summer

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