Updated: Jun 14
Your survival is essentially dependent on bees. Trust me!
Every year since 2017, May 20th, 2020 has been marked as the World Bee Day to celebrate bees and the countless things they do. To pay homage to them, here is a list of chaar sau bees (420) facts about everything about bees.
Why Do Bees Matter?
Bees play an important role in ecology.
Flora depends on bees for its survival.
Human food security depends on bees.
Around 85% of plants consumed by humans rely on bees for pollination.
Plants would be unable to reproduce to a great extent without bees.
Bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food we consume.
A reduction in the number of bees can lead to a reduction in the number of crops and wild plants.
Bees can ensure better food quality through their pollination abilities,
Bees help pollinate more than 90% of the leading global crops.
Bees produce more than just honey; they are responsible for making beeswax, royal jelly, bee pollen and more.
Beeswax is believed to be the second most economically important beehive product.
Beeswax is widely used in our everyday beauty products.
The world would run out of nuts, coffee, cocoa, tomatoes, apples and almonds, amongst other things, without bees.
Bees have far-reaching implications for cattle and, in turn, meat and dairy products as they pollinate clover and alfalfa.
The health of our overall natural ecosystems is fundamentally defined by bees.
Bees determine the availability of food and habitat for other non-human creatures too.
Globally, 3 out of 4 crops producing fruits or seeds depend on pollinators.
Over 250,000 plant species are dependent on bees.
Honeybees have come up as an important supplement to native bee pollinators for many crops.
Bees ensure sustainable agriculture.
Bees help in creating rural jobs and are an important factor in generating income for farmers.
Over a prolonged period, bees and beekeeping can help reduce poverty and hunger.
Bees play a role in the beautification of floral landscapes.
Around 80% of European wildflowers require insect pollination.
Bee pollination can add up to $15 billion in added crop value.
Scientists have called the major threats to bees as “the four Ps”, which include pesticides, pests, pathogens, and poor nutrition.
Climate change can affect bee nesting behaviours and make it harder for bees to survive.
Climate change affects the ability of bees to emerge after winter.
Climate change has changed the timing of plant and flower blooms which directly affects bees’ ability to obtain food.
Bees can face extinction due to an expansion of human-industrialised living.
1 out of every 4 wild bees is at risk of extinction in the US.
Honey bee activity is dependent on temperatures instead of seasons and climate change has been drastically affecting temperatures worldwide.
Due to several difficulties in migration, bumblebee migration territories have been reduced by 200 miles in North America and Europe.
A rise in temperatures can make bees more vulnerable to getting infected with nosema ceranae.
Monoculture farming hinders bees’ ability to provide for their colony by reducing their options to pollinate and feed on.
Being exposed to pesticides and herbicides can directly kill bees.
Pesticide and herbicide exposure can weaken the health of entire bee colonies.
The population of bumblebees has reduced in places that have become hotter in the last generation.
Habitat fragmentation severely affects bee populations.
Changes in flower blooming patterns significantly decrease the chance for bees to feed on pollen.
Mismatches of as little as three days in flower blooming patterns can seriously affect bees’ ability to reproduce and fight against predators and parasites.
Air pollution affects bees’ ability to smell and locate food by mixing air pollutants with plant scent molecules.
Air pollution can lower bees’ efficiency and slow them down.
A range of parasites can threaten bee colonies and eradicate them.
The recent phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has led to a mysteriously shocking decrease in the number of bee colonies.
Bumblebees have fallen by 17% in Europe as compared to their numbers in the early 20th century.
Rusty-patched bumblebees have disappeared from their habitat in Ontario, Canada and become endangered in the US.
Future projections suggest that 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, especially bees, will be on the brink of extinction soon.
Around 10 million bee hives were reported as dead in the last six years.
American foulbrood is a bacterial infection that kills bee larvae.
Several bee species, which are actually in much worse shape, suffer from neglect due to an overemphasis on honeybees in research and practice.
Exposure to pesticides warps bees’ antennae and leads to them losing their sense of smell.
Exposure to pesticides makes it harder for bees to return to their hives.
Oxidation in honey bees increases upon being exposed to pesticides which makes them age faster.
Honey bees in the US are at risk due to varroa mites which can transmit diseases.
Invasive alien species such as the yellow-legged hornet or vespa velutina can be particularly harmful to honey bees.
Artificial human efforts by multinational companies to rear and distribute honey bees have amplified several bumble bee diseases.
Low genetic diversity reduces bees’ chances of long-term survival.
The bee population in Odisha, India has fallen by 80%.
Around 40% of bee colonies have died in the US alone between the span of October 2018 and April 2019.
Bees and wasps have common ancestors.
Bees have been known to exist for at least 100 million years.
Over 20,000 species of bees have been recorded globally.
The UK alone is home to 270 bee species and only the honeybee is well-known.
Australia has a whopping 1,650 native bee species, of which at least 200 species can be found in the Adelaide Hills.
Several bee species have been artificially developed just for pollinating specific plants.
The majority of pollinators are wild.
Apis mellifera or the honey bee is the most common of the nine honey-producing bees.
Honey bees were originally native to only Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Humans manually introduced honey bees to other parts of the world.
A single honey bee can visit around 7,000 flowers in a single day.
Red mason bees play a vital role in the growth of commercial apples and are 120 times more efficient than honey bees, here.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognises bees as one of the best ways of enhancing food security and supporting sustainable agriculture.
Bees can see ultraviolet light.
Honey bees today are primarily domesticated and breed animals which are used for producing honey.
Honey bees are known to be industrial creatures because they target high-profit foraging areas.
Wild bees are known to be flexible and adaptive as they pollinate even for isolated flowers and in all seasons.
Pollinators are said to have a global market value between US $253bn and US $557bn annually.
In the UK, it would take £1.8bn per year to employ people for the job done by bees.
“Apis”, the word with which scientific honey bee names begin, means bee in Latin.
Apiculture refers to the art or practice of beekeeping.
An apiarist is someone who studies or manages bees.
The practice of beekeeping can be traced back to nearly 9,000 years ago.
Slovenia is popularly known as a nation of beekeepers.
Slovenia was the first EU member to provide legal protection to bees.
European honey bees are infamous for stealing food from native birds and animals and taking over their homes in Australia.
Honeybees produce a gelatinous substance called royal jelly to feed the queen bee.
Royal jelly is also used as a dietary supplement for physical ailments and chronic diseases in humans.
“Summer bees” make up the honey bee colonies in spring and summer.
Installing bee-friendly gardens can help local bee populations.
The colours purple, violet and blue are the most likely to attract bees.
Bee venom is often used to treat several ailments, reduce inflammation, treat chronic illnesses, etc.
Bees see colour five times faster than humans.
Bees respond to moving objects better than stationary ones because of their high flicker threshold.
Bees see better when they are flying.
Bees sometimes steal food from other bee hives when they fall short of nectar supply.
Honey bees may eat insect secretions in cases of food shortages.
Honey bee behaviour can change from colony to colony.
Bees are the only insects that create food consumed by both them and humans.
Bumblebees are agile and small in size which gives them the ability to enter plants with drooping flowers for pollination.
Most bees have special features such as scopae (branched hair) and pollen baskets (cobs of bristles) on their legs for collecting pollen.
Bumblebees are agile and small in size which gives them the ability to enter plants with drooping flowers for pollination.
Garden bumblebees have long tongues which make them better than other bees at pollinating deep flowers such as honeysuckle and foxgloves.
Honey bee stingers are such that once they are lodged in another creature, pulling them out can pull out their entire abdomen and kill them.
Bees have two different types of eyes for different functions. her creature, pulling them out can pull out their entire abdomen and kill them.
Honeybees are known to be endothermic due to their ability to warm their bodies and hives by using their flight muscles.
Bees have two different types of eyes for different functions.
Ocelli have lenses that help bees in maintaining stability and navigating.
Ocelli helps bees in judging light intensity and staying oriented.
Light can be gathered and seen as ultraviolet light using ocelli.
Honey bee eyes are hairy.
Bees also have compound eyes.
Thousands of facets or lenses are found in a single compound eye.
Bees can use their compound eyes to look in different directions at the same time.
6,900 facets are found in each eye of worker bees while 8,600 facets are found in a single eye of drone bees.
Due to having three photoreceptors in each eye, bees are known to be trichromatic.
Bees have a broader range of colour vision than humans.
Honey bees are unable to see the colour red.
Bees can see nectar bulls-eyes on flowers because of their ability to see ultraviolet light.
Bees can see individual flowers during flying at higher speed rates owing to their high flicker threshold.
Bees can scan and match the polarisation patterns in the sky.
Bees use their ability to see polarised light to navigate their way.
Pheromones, sensed using the antennae, help honey bees in their communication.
Australian native bees are found in a range of sizes from being 2 millimetres long to 2.5 centimetres long.
African honey bees are smaller than European honey bees and have higher metabolic rates, greater broods and more rapid development.
European honey bees have higher honey storage, bigger nests and increased longevity than African honey bees.
A honey bee’s brain is as small as a grain of sugar, yet it is extremely developed.
Honeybees can understand conceptual relationships such as “same/different” and “above/below”.
Honeybees can flap their wings 200 times per second.
Scientists have been able to train honey bees to detect bombs by training them to react to small amounts of explosive chemicals.
Human illnesses can be detected by honey bees when they are trained to do so.
Bees produce venom in their poison sacs.
Bees use their proboscis (a straw-like appendage) for sucking nectar from flowers.
Honey bees can taste using their front feet, tongue, jaws and antennae.
A solitary ground-nesting native bee in Japan coevolved with a trumpet-shaped flower and ended up developing a long tongue.
Bees learn new odours better in the morning.
A worker bee’s average lifetime flight mileage is 500 miles or around 804 kilometres.
A bee has to visit anywhere from 50 to 350 flowers for a single pollen load.
Any temperature between 15.5°C to 37.8°C is conducive for bees to work.
Apiary bees, born out of the hybridisation between African bees and European subspecies, are great at honey production.
Apiary bees are known to be extremely defensive.
Some bees started getting named as “killer bees” due to human and animal deaths resulting from their stings.
Bees cannot be easily tricked into misjudging distances.
Objects help bees gauge distance when they are flying.
Native bees are known to have evolved along with the ecosystems they are found in.
Many claims that honey bees originated from tropical climates and heavily forested areas.
Bees are now found in all kinds of climates including forests, deserts and even the Arctic Circle.
Beekeepers keep honey bees in colonies of managed hives.
European honey bees thrive in habitats with meadows, open wooded areas and gardens due to their flowering.
Bees can easily survive in wetlands, grasslands and deserts if they can secure some water, food and shelter.
Land-use changes arising from agriculture and urbanisation have led to the loss and degradation of bee habitats.
Some bees need specific habitats due to their greater affinity for specific plants.
Sandy or chalky open grasslands with field scabious or small scabious are the most suitable for the UK scabious bee.
At least nine honey bee species are native to Southeast Asia due to their tropical climate.
Southeast Asia is known as a hotspot for honey bees.
India is home to six species of commercial bees, which include apis dorsata (rock bee), apis laboriosa (the Himalayan species), apis cerana indica (Indian hive bee), apis florea (dwarf bee), apis mellifera (European bee) and tetragonula iridipennis (stingless bee).
North America is home to at least 45 bumblebee species.
Bee decline has increased due to the loss of particular habitats.
Many bee species do not live in hives.
Bumblebees are known to live in social colonies found in holes in the ground or tree cavities.
Solitary bees have been found to live in isolated nests on their own, wherein the female builds and provides for the nest.
The availability of nesting sites is essential for solitary bees’ survival.
Mining bees nest in the ground.
Mason bees build their nests inside holes in dead wood, banks and walls.
Australian native bees are found living alone inside the wood, gaps between rocks, plant stem, and underground nests.
Beehives have hexagonal structures for using beeswax efficiently and reducing wastage.
Indian sub-mountainous regions are full of apis dorsata or the Indian rock bee.
Apis dorsata constantly shift their colonies.
India is known as a hotspot for bees.
Leafcutter bees are found in nests inside holes in dead wood, banks and walls.
India has bumblebees only in the Himalayas.
Of 700 bee species found in India, only 5 are social bees that live in hives and make honey.
The largest group of Asian honey bee species is formed by four species of cavity-nesting honey bees: apis cerana F., apis koschevnikovi E., apis nigrocincta S., and apis nuluensis T.
The largest distribution range of all Asian honey bee species is seen in apis cerana.
Honey bees are herbivorous.in an area spanning across Afghanistan, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Honey bees are herbivorous.
The queen rules European honey bees.
Honey bees are known to have a complex social structure.
Honeybees perform functions serving the entire hive and operate as a collective.
Honey bees are divided into three categories based on their roles, which include the workers, the drones and the queen.
Bees perform tasks based on the communication between the queen, the brood and individual workers.
Worker bees make up the majority of bees in a hive.
All worker bees are female.
Worker bees have the responsibility of collecting food and producing honey.
Hives are defended by female bees.
The young are looked after by the worker bees.
Bees use propolis to seal spaces in the beehive.
Worker bees can produce eggs only when the queen bee’s pheromone is missing.
Stingers are not found in drones.
Drones are only present for mating with the queen.
Drones lose their lives after the mating process.
Nursing and cleaning within the nest are done by the summer bees.
Winter bees maintain the nest temperatures to ensure the colony’s survival.
Brood rearing is resumed by the winter bees with the onset of spring.
Royal jelly is fed to selected larvae by the workers to produce functioning ovaries in them when the queen gets old.
Normal larvae are fed bee bread which is a simple mixture of honey and pollen.
The phases of a colony’s life history determine the worker bee’s life expectancy.
Different reasons can attract worker bees ranging from sugar content levels to scents.
Worker bees perform a waggle dance upon finding good food sources to communicate the directions to the resource to other bees.
The waggle dance is done in the shape of the number eight and is extremely accurate in communicating the details.
Scout bees perform the waggle dance on swarm clusters upon finding potential nesting sites.
The queen’s location is communicated with the rest of the hive using teamwork and odour chemicals.
Worker bees have a limited life span of only 40 days.
The main priority of worker bees is ensuring the future survival of the hive as a whole.
Worker bees deposit nectar and pollen from their honey stomachs.
Honey-making bees derive nectar from the worker bees when they regurgitate it.
The phenomenon of colonies disappearing and leaving their queen behind along with a lot of food and nurse bees is known as the Colony Collapse Disorder.
Bees bring us a lot of lessons in democratic behaviour.
The genetic success of house-hunting bees is determined by the fate of the entire colony instead of just its reproductive members.
The process of choosing a new home is not influenced by the leader.
The waggle dance is used by each scout bee to cast their vote for choosing the housing site and influence others.
The housing site is chosen where the maximum number of scout bees perform the waggle dance.
Hundreds of individual bees are involved in the house-hunting process and they spread over an area of some three miles.
Honeybees work on the principle of common or collective consensus.
Honey bees huddle in winter clusters to stay warm.
A bee colony can have around 20,000 to 60,000 bees and only one queen.
In exceptional cases, there are two temporary queen bees.
The queen bee is twice the length of the worker bee.
Despite the difference in their sizes, the queen bee cannot be spotted among the worker bees by the human eye.
A dot of special bee pain is used to mark the queen bee by beekeepers.
The queen bee’s primary duty is reproduction.
The queen bee is the only reproducing member of the beehive.
Queen bees mate with drones and store their sperm for use throughout their lives.
The queen goes only on one or two mating flights during which drones come to compete for mating with her.
The queen can mate with as many as 20 drones in the air.
A queen bee can lay up to 2,000 to 3,000 eggs per day.
The sex of the bees is determined by the queen bee while laying the egg.
The queen bee deliberately produces more worker bees than drone bees.
Queen bees tend to produce a pattern of 95% or more worker cells.
Once impregnated, the queen bee may never emerge from the hive unless there is a need to swarm.
Queen bees have a spermatheca or a sperm pouch for storing sperm that can be used for fertilising eggs for the remainder of their lives.
The queen pheromone represses worker bee fertility.
The queen bee’s pheromones affect the behaviour and communication of the colony.
The queen uses her pheromones to get the workers to tend to her.
The queen stops the production of more queens using her pheromones.
New colonies are formed with the help of the queen bee swarming.
The queen bee lives for an average of two to three years and she performs well in the colony.
When the queen excels in her performance, she may live up to as many as four or five years and even longer in exceptional cases.
The colony can replace the queen bee when she underperforms through a process called supersedure.
Queen bees are tending to fail more and more quickly in their performance nowadays than they used to.
The absence of a queen bee from her hive can be detected within a mere span of 15 minutes by the rest of the bees.
Queens can live up to 5 years but are starting to get replaced within a short span of six months due to their inability to perform nowadays.
The queen does not have the sole power to decide the division of roles and responsibilities in the hive.
New queens take time to develop, reach mating age and lay eggs in cases where they are used as replacements for the existing queen.
African queen bees develop two days faster than European queen bees.
Nearly 10% of some 4,000 American native bees have no name.
Most native bees lead solitary lives.
Many native bees in temperate zones emerge from winter hibernation only in spring and early summer for feeding and mating.
New generations of solitary bees are raised by the females in soil, hollow twigs, rock crevices and dead trees.
Female bees provide for every egg with nectar and pollen on their own.
The process of raising new generations can even take an entire year for some native bee species.
The reproductive process is hampered in cases of tilling nests, poisoning and other disturbances.
Some native bees, including bumblebees, are known to be social bees.
Most native bees in India are solitary bees who do not have a queen, workers or any social hierarchies.
Solitary bees live away from each other.
Only the females build nests in solitary bees.
All male solitary bees use grass, little depressions or other surfaces to hold on to sleep at night.
There is a slight chance that female solitary bees build their nests close by.
Solitary bees share nests only under exceptional conditions.
Asian honey bee colonies use hissing sounds and perform defensive body shaking at the entrance of their nesting sites or on their surface to drive away predators.
American native wild bees produce no honey.
Most Native American bees cannot sting.
The life of an average solitary bee consists of 10 months of living in their nests and 5 weeks of flying.
Cuckoo bees sometimes steal the young of other bees along with their pollen.
Many native bees have complex flight systems which go beyond which involve them creating different patterns including tiny, tornado-like airflow.
Leafcutter bees lay their eggs in connected tube-like nests.
Sometimes when a hatching bee takes too long to emerge and blocks the exit, it runs the risk of getting eaten by the one next to them.
Bees such as the thistle long-horned bee clamp their mandibles onto plants for support to rest at night.
Male native bees can sometimes be found in groups while they sleep at night.
Native bees exist in a range of colours and can be tiny enough to be mistaken for flies.
Female carpenter bees use their bellies for carrying nectar and their legs and undersides of their abdomen for carrying pollen.
Female carpenter bees regurgitate nectar and pollen to make bee bread.
Bamboo poles, burrows and other wooden crevices serve as home to carpenter bees.
Carpenter bees deposit bee bread in the egg laid in singular chambers and seal it.
The eggs laid by carpenter bees are the world’s largest insect eggs.
Carpenter bees build apartment-style chambers by placing them on top of each other.
The egg laid in the top-most chamber by carpenter bees always hatches males.
The bee bread sealed inside the chamber is used as food by the new larva.
Carpenter bees are capable of causing substantial damage by excavating new tunnels in woods.
The female carpenter bee rarely stings despite her ability to do so.
Over 250 bumblebee species can be spotted in the Northern Hemisphere alone.
Bumblebees live only for a year at most on average.
The bumblebee queen spends her winter in lead litters or on the ground.
The queen bumblebee single-handedly founds an entire colony in spring post her winter hibernation.
Bumblebees are known to be the first ones to get active in spring and the last ones to be active in fall.
Early-blooming and late-blooming plants are essential to a bumblebee’s survival.
Bumblebees buzz-pollinate by shaking their entire bodies at a frequency of 262 Hz to increase the release of pollen in some flowers.
Bumblebees are assumed to be docile beings due to their unlikeliness of stinging.
On rare occasions, when they do have to sting, they warn the target by sticking up their middle leg.
Bumblebees, unlike other social bees, do not form swarms.
Bumblebees become aggressive only when their nests are bothered.
When they sting, bumblebees can sting more than once.
Bumblebees tend to forage close to home.
Bumblebee colonies decline in late fall.
The queen bumblebee is the only bumblebee which can survive winter.
Bumblebees can often be found resting under or inside flowers.
Sometimes bumblebees indulge in nectar robbing which refers to their tendency to visit plants only to collect their nectar and leave without actually pollinating the flower.
Bumblebees mark the flowers they have visited using their scent.
Imported bumblebees in North America infected the other bumblebees which led to a sharp decline of 92.54% in the number of the rusty patched bumblebee between 2004 and 2014.
Imported bumblebees are predicted to have led to the disappearance of the species Franklin’s bumblebee which has not been spotted since 2004.
Mining bees called Andrena are said to have huge families made up of thousands in which only the female lives alone in nests close to each other.
Dwarf bees use propolis to coat the branches supporting their nests to prevent attacks from predators.
Asian giant honey bees tend to form their nests in dense aggregations on the same trees or cliffs.
Apis ceranauses use the technique of heat balling by forming a horn around hornets and raising the temperature to fatal levels to defend themselves.
Apis florea or red dwarf bees have proven to be more resilient in the fact of deforestation than other bees.
Honey produced by bees has been an age-old staple source of sugar across cultures and communities for millennia.
Bees save some nectar in their stomachs for energy.
The majority of the nectar stored in bees’ honey stomachs is turned into honey using enzymes.
Bees regurgitate honey in the hives.
Honey has been shown to have countless nutritional and medicinal uses and benefits.
Honey can protect the body against inflammation which can be responsible for a range of health issues, including heart diseases, cancer and autoimmune disorders.
Honey contains everything from sugars, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to antioxidants.
Honey never expires or spoils unless exposed to moisture.
Honey bees managed by beekeepers can generate an income of up to $6 million just by producing honey.
A bee has to visit at least four million flowers just to produce a kilogram of honey.
Producing a kilogram of honey requires a honey bee to fly four times the distance around the planet.
A single honey bee produces only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
A single teaspoon of honey requires at least twelve honey bees.
Not all honey is made by bees.
The honey bee keeps on repeating the process of regurgitation until the water content of the nectar is not reduced from 70% to 20%.
Honey bees also flap their wings together to collectively drive off the water from the nectar collected.
Honey is placed inside the honeycomb cell only once its water content is removed.
The honey bees seal the cell storing the honey using beeswax once they are satisfied with its quality.
Honey is the only food that has all the nutrients and substances necessary for sustaining life.
Honey hunting was the most popular way of obtaining honey from beehives until the end of the 18th century.
While collecting honey from beehives, beekeepers need to ensure that they leave enough honey behind for the bees to survive winter.
The flavour of honey depends on the plant’s nectar it is made from.
Honey has only become more important in human lives with time.
Honey has become a crucial part of the beauty industry due to its regenerative properties.
The adulteration of honey with other sweeteners can critically affect honey bees.
The practice of feeding adulterated honey to honey bees has harmed countless honey bees in China.
Sometimes beekeepers feed honey bees with corn syrup instead of honey which has been linked to colony collapse disorder in them.
Humans have an age-old history of obtaining honey from bees as can be seen in rock paintings in caves dating 6,000 years back.
Honey is also used to make a wine called mead.
Honey was used as the primary sweetener until sugar was produced in India and China in the seventh century.
Apis mellifera accounts for at least 75% of the honey produced in India.
All four of India’s honeybees can be found in the Kaas plateau in the month of August collecting pollen and nectar for making honey.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi launched an initiative called the Honey Mission for a Sweet Revolution in 2017.
India’s honey production has grown by 200% since the launch of the Honey Mission.
Honey has no shelf life.
According to fossil records, bees appeared on Earth around 146 to 74 million years ago.
Honeybees have existed for longer than humans have.
20th May was marked as World Bee Day in 2017 due to Slovenia’s efforts at the United Nations.
Peter Pavel Glavar (1721-1784) founded the first beekeeping school in Komenda.
Slovenian beekeeper Anton Janša laid the foundations of modern beekeeping in the 18th century.
European honey bees were brought into Australia nearly 200 years ago for producing bees.
Honey bees produced toxic honey or mad honey for a conflict in Turkey in 65 BC which is recognised as the earliest form of chemical warfare.
German feudal lords required their peasants to pay them for honey and beeswax in the 11th century.
Beeswax has been used by humans for making candles and as an ingredient in artists’ materials and leather and wood polishes.
The use of beeswax can be traced back to ancient Greece and Medieval Europe.
Many ancient civilisations used honey as food and medicine.
Honey was used to embalm the dead and as an offering to god by ancient Egyptians.
Ancient Egyptians used beeswax in magic rites.
Ancient Greek civilisations recognised honey as a symbol of blessings and happiness.
The earliest production of mead can be traced back to northern China in 7,000 BC.
The female queen honey bee was acknowledged as the head of the honey bee colony in 1586.
Charles Butler, the father of English beekeeping popularised the queen bee by writing about it in 1609.
The Virgina Company brought bees to North America in 1621.
Only 4,000 native species of bees were found in North America before 1622.
European settlers sailed the Atlantic with beehives for the first time in 1622.
The first documented practice of controlled beekeeping was noted in a 1641 court case in Massachusetts.
The Continental Congress of Philadelphia started using the image of a beehive on their 45-dollar bills to signify stability after gaining independence.
The government demanded records of all beehives in 1791 during the French Revolution.
Honey was used to pay taxes during a period in the French Revolution and the beekeepers who did not wish to do so destroyed their beehives.
Beeswax was accepted as a valid currency in Tennessee for paying taxes in the late 1700s.
Honey vendors used to sport a “bee beard” to market their products in the 1830s.
Sporting bee beards has turned into a competition in several places today including Ontario, Canada where many compete annually in the activity.
The Kondha tribe of Odisha used tamed bees to fight Britishers when they attacked them in 1842-49.
Mass bee die-offs due to diseases were recorded in the US for the first time in 1869.
The end of World War II in 1945 marks the beginning of several issues affecting bees today.
Mahatma Gandhi promoted beekeeping as an important activity in his rural development programmes after India gained independence in 1947.
Two obligate parasites of honey bees were introduced in the US in the 1980s.
Reports of mass bee die-offs have been reported every winter since the winter of 2006-07.
Colony Collapse Disorder was noticed for the first time in 2007 in the US as the number of bees plummeted.
The 2008 Farm Bill in the US allocated a mammoth amount of 17 million dollars in funding annually for five years just to study the colony collapse disorder and other pollinator health issues.
German scientists created a camera with a bee’s eye view which could capture a 280-degree field view in 2010.
The European Union partially banned the use of three insecticides to mitigate the threat they posed to bees in May 2018.
Beeswax was one of the first plastics to be used.
Honey bees have been reported to have coevolved along with North American agriculture in the US.
Several honey bees were trained in the Netherlands to detect the novel coronavirus.
Depictions of bees can be found in carvings, jewellery, coins, rings, tools and sculptures for thousands of years.
One of the first portrayals of bees can be found in rock art from 8000 BCE from Spain’s spider caves.
Some of the oldest human representations of honey bees are more than 8,000 years old and can be found in hieroglyphics and historic Chinese representations.
Bees and honey have a significant theological presence across world religions.
Several proverbs in the Bible reference honey.
There are mentions of a Hindu bee goddess called Bhramari Devi in Hindu mythology, who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati.
The carpenter bee finds itself in Hindu mythology as “bhramara” hovering around young maidens and as a symbol of lovesick men.
The symbol of the Hindu god Vishnu is also a bee.
Kama, or the god of love, is known to carry a bow with a string made of bees along with his twin horsemen who drip honey.
The Atharva-Veda contains hymns about a weapon called the honey whip.
Many cultures believe that consuming honey can make their speech more eloquent and sweeter.
The Sikh holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, contains verses with references to honey.
The vedas and Buddhist scriptures have mentions of beekeeping.
India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh has rock paintings depicting honey collections from the Mesolithic era.
Honey bees came to be known as the “white man’s fly” because of how often European settlers brought them with them.
Advanced agricultural societies like the Mayans’ had sophisticated apicultural techniques and kept native bees in their homes.
Poetry and paintings from the Tang Dynasty of China have numerous references to honey bees.
Honey bees were viewed with suspicion due to their stinging capabilities before the Tang Dynasty.
Bees flying out of their hives came to represent industry and community in the United States.
The image of the hive is the current state symbol of Utah.
Southwestern ethnic Chinese communities had special bee drums to celebrate cultural links to bees.
Americans have bees embedded in their idioms used for everyday communication.
Bees have prompted endless poetic odes across eras.
Before the head of the honey bees was recognised as a female everyone assumed that it would be a “king”.
William Shakespeare’s Henry V has references to a bee king too.
The famous Sherlock Holmes supposedly retired to Sussex Downs in England and became a beekeeper.
Sherlock Holmes’ retirement inspired a real-life club called the “The Retired Beekeepers”.
Several fictional characters including Winnie the Pooh and Yogi are known to love honey.
The Beatles’ song “Tomorrow Never Knows” popularised the “drone” music style.
Several communities have a range of bee-inspired music and songs for different experiences and emotions.
Charles Butler scored the Melissomelos using his observations of bee voices and their societal structure in the 17th century.
Many musicians and artists have started incorporating bee sounds directly in their music today.
The music group Be’s song “Into” uses honey bee sounds to promote the plight of the species.
Several building designs and architecture across the globe have been based on the hexagonal structures found in beehives.
Bee-inspired architecture has proven to be one of the most stable and efficient structures.
NASA came up with a 3D-printed beehive structure which they claim can be our future home on Mars.
The New Zealand parliament’s “beehive” building is a homage to bees for their efficient work.
Bees have also become popular characters in several animated films such as the Bee Movie from 2007.
Several of Pokemon’s creatures are based on bees including the female Combees which collect resources for their colonies.
A recent experimental architectural design The Hive was built to shed light on the pressing issue of honey bee decline.
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