Losing bees would be one of the easiest ways to usher in the apocalypse because bees make up the largest population of pollinating insects on the planet. Bees are still one of the most interesting insects on earth whose complicated symbiosis with humanity goes back over 4,500 years. We need hone and our crops to be pollinated every year and we can’t get these without bees. Bees on the other hand just need us to stop clearing the vegetation they need to get nectar, stop using so many pesticides, and, of course, stop taking so much of their hard-earned honey. It all goes down to the queen, her larvae and the workers though and these are some of the most interesting facts about these golden insects.
Queens Are Created
When it comes to a bee colony, the queen las the loyalty of all the workers because she has the ability to lay eggs and therefore the future of the hive depends on her. The rest of the workers are female bees which have are infertile and therefore have no chance at the throne. The workers still determine which of the larvae will be royalty and which one won’t by feeding a select few with royal jelly. The queens are not immortal, so when a queen dies, the workers simply feed royal jelly to some lucky larvae and the hive continues.
Revolts Happen In Hives
Beehives are very orderly and everyone knows their place, or so it may seem. The bees keep coordinated by pheromones and each hive has its own distinct scent by which members can identify each other. For some strange reasons, sometimes the workers of the same hive turn on each other and start fighting and it is always a massacre that ends in the death of everyone.
Bee Venom Has Medicinal Properties To Humans
Ever wondered why people order live bees online? Well, there are certain conditions that bee venom can cure or reduce the symptoms. The most common one is Lyme disease for which people use acupuncture to get the venom in or get bees to sting them to relieve symptoms. There is a study that concluded that bee venom actually kills HIV and the neurotoxin in the venom will probably be used in future research related to the disease.
Queens Still Have To Fight
Workers have the job of feeding royal jelly to the females they want to become fertile queens. There is more than one virgin queen that comes out from the larvae and that is a threat that other queens cannot afford. The fertile virgin queens will therefore kill each other or escape to seek a home somewhere else. Sometimes, workers may stop virgin queens from killing each other but in most cases, one virgin queen will kill and chase away the other virgins and also kill the unhatched larvae that have been fed royal jelly.
Queens Can Sting Unlimited Times
It is true that most worker bees die when they sting humans and other mammals because their stings are barbed and therefore get trapped in the skin of the victim leading to the death of the bee. The queen can also sting and unlike the workers, they won’t stop. Queens’ stings aren’t barbed and therefore don’t get trapped in your skin so they will continue stinging until the threat is eliminated.
Jumping Under Water Won’t Save You From A Bee Attack
Bees are rarely aggressive unless you cause a disturbance too close to their hive. They give their lives to protect the hive and won’t stop stinging you until they stop perceiving you as a threat. When one bee stings you, it releases an attack pheromone. The sad part is that when one stinger dies, it releases even more attack pheromones which lead to more bees stinging you. The pheromones stay on your skin and don’t disappear when you duck underwater. You will come out and find a whole swarm still waiting for you.
Drones Die After Mating
Male bees don’t have much value in a hive apart from mating with the queen to fertilize her eggs. Since they don’t work as the females do, they are mostly idle in the hive until they are expelled and meet a queen to mate with. A single queen can mate with up to 45 drones and store their sperm to fertilize her eggs until she dies. As for the drone, mating means the end of their useful life so they will immediately collapse and die.
They Have Two Stomachs
You need at least 556 bees in a hive to make you a pound of honey in a hive because one worker bee will produce about 1/12 tablespoon of honey in its 6-to-8-week lifetime. To make one pound of honey, bees need at least 10 pounds of nectar. It means bees can’t just focus on feeding themselves, they also need to focus on storing nectar for making honey and that requires a whole new stomach because the nectar may be up to 80% of a bee’s weight. They, therefore, use their second stomach to store the nectar they pass from one another to convert to honey.
Bees Can Fry Hornets
Murder hornets are one of the greatest threats to the survival of beehives in North America and now other parts of the world. Hornets are an invasive species that many bees just don’t know how to kill. Bees are adaptive insects though and whatever they can’t sting to death, they can fry. A group of worker bees surround a hornet and start flapping their wings at high speeds causing a ball of air around the hornet which heats up as the bees continue buzzing and the heat soon gets too much and kills the hornet.
Bee Venom is Pound For Pound Stronger Than A Cobra’s
Bees do kill people, especially when you are allergic to bee stings. While a single cobra bite can pack enough venom to kill 10 grown men, a bee sting may be much worse. Now, a single bee on its own doesn’t have enough venom to kill a person unless they have a severe allergic reaction. However, if harvested, injection by bee venom will be more lethal than a similar quantity of cobra venom.