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All About Honeybees

How do bees make honey?

When a honey bee takes nectar from a flower, she stores it in a "honey sack." When this honey sack is full, she returns to the hive, deposits the drop of nectar into the honeycomb, and evaporates the water out of the nectar by fanning her wings. Once the honey has aged, wax is used to seal it in the comb, which keeps it clean and safe. 

*   A honeybee makes 154 trips for one teaspoon of honey. 
*   A colony produces 60 to 100 pounds of honey a year. 
*   To gather a pound of honey, a bee flies a distance equal to more than three times around the world. 
*   It takes two million flowers to make one pound of honey.
*   A typical Bee colony consists of 30,000 to 60,000 bees.
*   The average honey bee's wings flap over 183 times per second.
*   Bees have an excellent sense of smell which allows them to find their hive.
*   Honey Bees actually dance when they return to the hive to tell the other bees where the flowers are. 
*   Honey is the ONLY food source produced by an insect that humans eat. 
*   Worker honey bees transform the floral nectar they gather into honey by adding enzymes to the nectar and reducing the moisture.



What kinds of bees are there?

There are three classes of bees: queens, workers, and drones. In a hive, there can be hundreds of drones, thousands of workers, but always just one queen.


The Queen

*   She is the only bee able to lay eggs. 
*   She never leaves the hive and is constantly attended by workers. 
*   She only uses her sting against other queens. 
*   A queen bee can sting multiple times without dying. 
*   She lays up to 2,000 eggs per day.


The Worker

*   Workers are all sterile females. 
*   If born during the active spring or summer months, they live for only four to five weeks; during winter, they live for a few months. 
*   They perform many tasks in and out of the hive, including: gathering pollen; making honey; feeding the other bees; producing beeswax; building honeycombs; and, protecting the hive.


The Drone

*   Drones are males. 
*   Drones don't work, can't feed themselves, and have no stinger. 
*   They live for only about three months. 
*   Their only task is to mate with queens.



What to do if you're stung by a bee

*   Remove the stinger by scraping it out with your thumbnail.
*   Apply a cold wet cloth or ice to the area to reduce pain and swelling.
*   Allergic reactions require prompt treatment or medical assistance. Watch for severe swelling beyond the sting area and shortness of breath. Seek emergency medical attention if you think you're having a severe allergic reaction.

Apis mellifera is the scientific name for a honey bee.

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