How hard the colony works

The sums people have done to work out how hard bees work give us some mind-boggling stats which you can't fail but be impressed by:

It takes about 200 mg of honey to rear a worker bee which is tiny, at just 0.04 of a teaspoon.  However, multiply that up by around 200,000 worker bees born each year in a healthy colony, plus they need to go into winter with about 18 Kg of honey to keep them going, then each colony needs 100 lbs of pollen and 3-500 lbs of nectar: that's a bath full! Then in good seasons they produce more which we can harvest. 

It takes a lot of energy to fly and to produce wax, the bees need nectar to give them the energy for these tasks too.  The nectar is converted in their wax glands underneath their tummies where it comes out like sheets of photocopier paper ready to be molded to make the wax cells.

The normal top speed of a worker would be about 15-20 mph when flying out to get food, and about 12 mph on their way home laden down with nectar, pollen, propolis or water.

To make 1 lb of honey, honey bees have to visit 2 million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles.  That's ridiculous - 80 million flowers just for the honey we leave them to have over winter, not including all the honey they ate during the season and that the beekeeper took off. Plant flowers!

Emily AbbottComment