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5 fun facts about bees

 

In honour of National Honey Bee Day on August 19, let’s recognize the amazing feats that bees perform on a daily basis. While this is the time to pay special tribute to honey bees, let’s face it, bee species of all kinds deserve our praise. With that in mind, Mr. Orlando wants to share five little-known facts that have us buzzing about bees.

 

Bees are among the hardest working species on the planet.
Image via Pixabay

To the casual observer, it may look like bees are just aimlessly going about their day, but they are among the hardest working species on our planet. In fact, their work ethic is so grueling that they often work themselves to death! Fortunately, none of that hard work goes to waste. For thousands of years, scientists and mathematicians have been marveling at the efficient design and perfect 120-degree angles of a typical honeycomb.

 

We'd be lost (or at least hungry) without bees.
Image via Pixabay

Like other pollinators, bees play a vital role in the fertilization process. They don’t transfer pollen on purpose — this substance simply sticks to them and follows wherever they go — but their tireless work ensures that pollen reaches its ideal destination, allowing plants to grow fruit and seeds. (Recognizing the value of bees, flowers developed colourful petals to attract these helpful insects.) Without all this hard work, you would be denied some of the world’s most delicious foods, including fruit, nuts and, everyone’s favourite delicacy, chocolate (which comes from the cocoa bean!).

 

Though we may think all bees look the same, bees can tell us apart.
Image via Pixabay

To humans, bees might all look alike, but they can tell members of our species apart. This discovery was made by Australian researchers, who devised a system of rewards that proved bees can identify a human face. Of course, bees don’t see humans in the way we see one another. Since their eyes are incapable of processing an entire face in a single glance, they rely on a process known as “configural processing” that allows them to merge each of your features into a single identity. For a bee, every human face is a puzzle — and they’re really good at puzzles!

 

No two bees are alike — some can be fearful while others can be daring.
Image via Pixabay

Unlike humans, most bees never get a chance to decide what they want to do with their lives. From the time they are born, they know their function, allowing them to keep bickering and wasted time to a minimum. Honeybees are an intriguing exception, as they often reinvent themselves and their responsibilities, changing their whole brain chemistry in the process. Scientists have also concluded that bees are more diverse than most people realize. Some are daring, some are fearful and some are overwhelmed by stress.

 

Bee populations have been on the decline for over a decade.
Image via Pixabay

Sure, bees have all kinds of special powers and skills, but their populations have been on the decline for over a decade. Here are six things you can do to help the bees:

  1. Plant bee-friendly flowers (bees especially like lavender, lilac, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans and a variety of herbs). 
  2. If you have a yard, discourage grown-ups from using pesticides on the flowers and lawn.
  3. Tell the grown-ups to let the weeds grow, because bees like the dandelions and native flowers.
  4. Build a bee hotel — not all bees live in hives, so building a hotel would mimic an ideal nesting site for select species.
  5. Buy local, raw honey.
  6. Understand that honey bees are not out to sting us. They'll only sting if they feel threatened, so give them space and they will leave you alone.