9 Interesting Facts about Bees
As the weather warms up, bees make a welcome return to our gardens. These buzzing insects are incredibly important to the planet’s ecosystems. They pollinate flowers and food for humans and other animals, meaning they occupy a crucial role within the food chain.
Here are 9 more interesting facts about bees:
#1 There are several hundred different varieties of bee in the UK. They may be social (living in hives) or solitary (nesting alone). Some sting and some don’t. And they occupy a wide variety of different habitats.
#2 Bees are responsible for pollinating a huge proportion of the food we eat. Fruit, chocolate, coffee – all of these items rely on bees. In fact, according to Friends of the Earth, it would cost British farmers £1.8billion a year to pollinate their crops without them.
#3 Bumblebees emerge from hibernation in the springtime. But they may be sluggish after their long sleep. If you find a sleepy bee, vets advise leaving some sugary water in a spoon so bees can take a sip and get the energy boost they need to take flight.
#4 The average worker honeybee produces just 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
#5 Bees rack up some pretty impressive stats. They flap their wings about 200 times every second. They visit up to 2,000 flowers in a single day. And honeybees fly approximately 500 miles during a lifetime.
#6 Since 1900, the UK has lost 13 different bee species. There are currently 35 species at threat of extinction. It’s thought that loss of habitat, disease, pesticides and pollution could all be to blame.
#7 Planting nectar-rich flowers in your garden provides food for your local bee population. Ideally you should pick a variety of plants and try to maximise your garden’s flowering season.
#8 A bee hotel can provide the perfect nesting spot for solitary bees. It should be placed in full sun and at least a metre off the ground.
#9 The EU recently announced that by the end of 2018 it will have banned bee-harming insecticides. These widely-used pesticides protect crops but are also thought to have a negative effect on bees. It’s hoped that the ban will help reverse the decline in bee populations seen over recent years.
Bees are amazing creatures. But they’re currently facing some tough challenges. If you’d like to help, try creating a bee-friendly garden at home.
- Nikki Boxwild