Did you know…
A worker bee can travel at around 20 mph, unladen (with pollen, nectar, propolis and water)
Bees collect about 20kg of pollen every year; it provides them with a rich source of protein and fat, keeping the colony strong enough to make honey
The strength and health of honey bee colonies has declined due to parasites, diseases and loss of habitat – and, since Britain lost a third of its bee colonies in the winter of 2009/10, remains challenged
About one third of our food wouldn’t exist without honeybees
Honey bees have five eyes, four wings and six legs
Their favourite colours are mauves and purples – but they cannot see red
So, aside from honey bees being pretty cool, without them, the world would be a very different – and less colourful and less tastier – place.
But honey bees don’t do all this hard work alone. Britain has, in total, around 270 different species of bee, plus flies, butterflies, moths and bats, which all pollinate, too.
Honey bees – AKA Apis mellifere. They’re insects that everyone associates with black and yellow/orange stripes, hives and, of course, honey. But there is so much more to these winged invertebrates than that.
As a principal player in pollination, a whopping one third of the food we eat wouldn’t be available without honey bees. Not to mention the flowers and plants in your garden. Yet, despite many beekeepers great efforts, honey bee populations have been struggling – the result of an increase in the varroa mite, disease, loss of habitat and an increase in the use of pesticides.