Facts about bees
Our bees are incredible...
As a type of pollinator, bees drink the sweet nectar of flowers, moving between plants and transferring pollen, which fertilises different species, enabling them to produce fruit and seeds!
Pollinators are vital for life on earth as we know it, without them, we wouldn't have potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, coffee, chocolate or cotton!
However, they're currently in trouble - their numbers are in real decline, due to a number of factors including disease, habitat loss and the impacts of pesticide use
Agroecological ways of farming, like organic, create havens for insect species including bees - did you know that, on average there is 50% more abundance of plant, insect and bird life on organic farms?!
The more we know about these amazing insects, the more we are able to champion them and take action help to protect them.
Here are our top 10 favourite facts about bees to get you buzzing:
- £690 million is the mind-boggling amount that insect pollination is worth to UK crops each year. 76% of globally important commercial crops depend on insect pollination, which equates to 1 in 3 mouthfuls of food!
- The “waggle dance” is used by bees to teach each other about the direction and location of food sources over 6 kilometres away. Known as 'a sat nav for bees', the bees perform precise movements to tell other bees in the hive exactly where they have found their new fantastic food source! Watch the video below to see what the incredible buzzing boogie looks like yourself!
- Bees have four wings, not two - they actually hook them together to form one big pair when flying and then unhook them when not flying!
- There are around 75% more wild bees on organic farms - organic farming can improve the numbers of bees found in habitats surrounding the farm. This is because organic farmers use fewer pesticides, and have a higher amount of bee-friendly habitats, like wildflower margins.
- The average hive produces about 11kg of honey during a season! That's the equivalent of about 24 jars. Bees must fly about 55,000 miles just to make one pound of honey (which is less than half a kilo!)
- 20,000 species of bee live around the world, with over 250 species in the UK. Not all bees produce honey: solitary bees - as their name suggests - like to live on their own, and don't have a queen, or live in hives.
- Some amazing solitary bee species include leafcutter bees, who construct their homes from thick-stemmed plants, rotted wood and leaves, and masonry bees, which can be found inside naturally-occurring holes in bricks and mortar joints!
- Bees bounce back! Bees are really responsive to changes in their habitat - for every 10% increase in bee-friendly habitats, like those found o organic farms, bee numbers and diversity increases by over a third! In organic grain fields, you can find up to 7 times more bees!
- Bee colonies are a hive of activity - One queen, hundreds of male drones and thousands of female workers make up a single average honeybee hive
- In the UK, many species of bee are declining, with two bumblebee species already known to be extinct. As a charity, we're working to protect our vital wildlife and promote nature-friendly farming across the country. Find out how you can help protect bees.
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