The Colony

  • A honey bee colony is made up of one queen, several Drones (male), and many workers (all female).
  • A honey bee colony can contain up to 60,000 bees during peak season, sometimes more!
  • Honey bees can regulate the temperature inside their hives to maintain 92-94 degrees F. even though it may be 10 -110 degrees outside.
  • During winter, the bees form a cluster around the queen to keep her warm.
  • Honey bees are the only insect that produces food for human consumption.
  • The colony simultaneously forages on many species of flowers, but an individual bee tends to forage on a single species during each foray.
  • Honey bees contribute 8 to 10 billion dollars to the U.S. economy annually.
  • Honey bees pollinate approximately 1/3 of all the food we consume.

The Queen

  • A queen honey bee has an average life span of 3 years. She may live as long as 5 years.
  • The queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day during peak season.
  • Even though she has a stinger, the queen does not sting.

The Workers

  • The worker bees are all female.
  • The average age of a worker honey bee is about 4-6 weeks during spring and summer. In winter, they live up to 4 months.
  • The average worker produces about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • Honey bees can fly up to 15 miles per hour.
  • Honey bees can fly up to 5 miles from their hive to forage.
  • A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a single foraging trip.
  • A honey bee can flap its wings up to 200 times per second!
  • Only the worker honey bee will sting. Her stinger will pull from her body and remains where she stung. She will die after only one sting.

The Drones

  • Male honey bees, called Drones, have no stinger. Their only job is to mate with the queen.
  • After mating, the drone dies.
  • To conserve resources for the winter, the drones are kicked out to die.
  • Drones are prevalent during spring and summer.