Everyone is familiar with bees, but few are aware of their significance in our survival. The roles of bees in the ecosystem include pollinating more than 130 fruit, vegetable, and seed crops. They also are critical to the reproduction and diversity of flowers.
10 Bee Facts:
1. Only female bees sting, and many solitary bees can’t sting.
2. A bee’s sting (or stinger) is a modified egg-laying organ.
3. A bee has five eyes: two are complex eyes that see movement well, while the other three detect light intensity.
4. Bees can see ultraviolet light, but they cannot see the red end of the spectrum, so they perceive the world as more blue and purple than we do.
5. Drones do not have a father, but they do have a grandfather.
6. Bees are herbivores, and their diet comes entirely from flowers—carbohydrates from nectar and protein from pollen.
7. Honey bees are not native to the Americas, and bumble bees are not native to Australia.
8. A queen bee has exactly the same genes as a worker: she develops into a queen simply because she is fed extra rations of royal jelly when she is a larva.
9. The honey bee genome has been sequenced; it is about one-tenth the size of the human one.
10. Bees pollinate over 130 fruit and vegetable crops, and produce many other things that benefit humans—honey, wax, resins, propolis, royal jelly, and even venom.
For more information on bees, the human-bee relationship, and beekeeping read The Bee by Noah Wilson-Rich.
With contributions from Kelly Allin, Norman Carreck & Andrea Quigley