7 Fascinating Facts about Honeybees

February 1, 2014, was my start in beekeeping. I spent an hour at nearby garden nursery information session learning about beekeeping. I was blown away! I had some misconceptions about beekeeping, about honeybees and I learned enough to set me on fire. I continued researching to satisfy the passion that was started. Here are a few things I learned.

 Worker Honeybee

Worker Honeybee

  1. Honeybees are not migratory. This may be common knowledge to some, but I imagined that honeybees needed warm temperatures to survive. Honeybees do not fly south for the winter, but cluster together during the winter as needed to keep warm. They feed from their honey stores that they’ve worked so hard to make during the warmer months when nectar and pollen were prevalent.

  2. Beekeeping can be a backyard hobby...like, a small backyard hobby. I assumed that the suburbs would not be safe unless there were at least several open acres around the hive. This is delightfully untrue! I have seen tiny city lots in subdivisions house several hives.

  3. A hive can produce 60+ pounds of honey per year (about 5 gallons)!

  4. A hive can number 60,000+ bees during the summer. These bees live within 5 cubic feet, which is about 1/4 the size of your refrigerator.

  5. Honeybees are incredibly clean. They remove dirt, pests, debris when they are able, and sting to death, disinfect and mummify anything they cannot move, like an intruding mouse. Can you imagine 60,000 insects living in less than 5 cubic feet? Living in such close proximity requires sterile conditions for health.

  6. Although estimates vary, there is evidence that Honeybees will fly up to 6 miles in search of food.

  7. Honeybees maintain a core temperature of their hive at about 94 degrees. On the hot days of summer when outside temperatures exceed 94 degrees, the wax becomes so soft that it can begin to fall apart. The solution? Worker bees position on the inside and outside of the hive and beat their wings non-stop, fanning the hive and reducing the humidity and interior temperature of the hive.