May 20 is World Bee Day!

To protect bees and other pollinators, the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association launched a campaign in 2014, calling for May 20 to be designated as World Bee Day. The initiative was supported by the Slovenian Government. In 2015, the initiative was co-opted by the largest international beekeepers’ organization, Apimondia.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food of Slovenia traveled around the world with a pavilion called Bee World, actively promoting the projects. Meetings with representatives of other countries and international organizations involved in environmental projects were also organized by the ministry. In 2017, the United Nations’ Economic and Financial Committee adopted a resolution proclaiming World Bee Day. The resolution was unanimously supported by the General Assembly of the U.N., and May 20 was declared World Bee Day. 115 countries including the United States, Canada, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and all E.U. member states, signed on as major sponsors.

  1. A single bee weighs .00025 pounds. 4,000 bees together weigh only one pound. Each of our hives has 50,000 bees, weighing 12 pounds together.
  2. A single bee can produce 1 tablespoon of honey in its lifetime. 683 bees fly roughly 32,550 miles to gather 5.93 lbs of nectar from about 1,185,000 flowers in order to make one 9.5 oz. jar of Big Island Bees’ honey!
  3. Bees can fly up to 12 mph. On every foraging trip, a bee will visit 50-100 flowers to collect nectar!
  4. Bees heat and cool their own hive to keep it between 93 and 95 degrees year-round. Bees are cold-blooded and must keep their hive at a constant temperature. In cold weather, bees keep the hive warm by swarming together to generate body heat and by sealing cracks in the hive with propolis. In warm weather, the bees collect water and line up in a circle around the hive entrance. Using their wings, the bees fan the water so that it evaporates into the air. They then fan the cool air so that it circulates around the hive as a sort of central air conditioning.
  5. A Queen Bee will lay 800,000 eggs in her lifetime! The queen’s life is dedicated to reproduction and she only leaves the hive once in her life in order to mate.
  6. Bees are remarkably tidy. Bees are very meticulous. They groom each other and keep their hive incredibly clean.
  7. The hexagonal shape of the honeycomb is the most efficient shape in our world.The pattern allows for the cells to be packed with no empty space in between. Though the wax is thin and delicate the structure of the hexagonal cells can hold a tremendous amount of weight.
  8. Bees communicate by dancing! Click here to learn about bee dances.
  9. Bees are known to raid other hives and steal honey! Bees “rob” honey from other bees if honey from another hive is available (say, if a beekeeper leaves a hive open), or if times are lean. However, if a guard bee from the robbed hive catches an interloper (detecting the foreign smell of the intruder), the two will engage in battle—stinging to the death. If the robber makes it into the hive unnoticed, she will gain the scent of the hive (and learn the entrance well enough) that she can come in and out without being detected as an intruder.
  10. A Bee’s diet consists of honey and pollen. Honey and pollen are the building blocks of a bee’s diet. Bees eat honey because it provides them with energy-laden carbohydrates, while pollen’s protein provides bees with essential amino acids. But, the Queen’s diet is richer in honey…which gives her fertility. The queen’s staple food is a special honey and pollen mixture called “royal jelly.” Royal jelly contains more pollen and honey than larval jelly (the food eaten by worker and drone bees). The phrase “you are what you eat” is especially fitting here, since the queen would be infertile and indistinguishable from smaller worker bees if it weren’t for the added carbohydrates in royal jelly.

About Kevin

Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-UPI, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Trustee RD 2137, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction
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