Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly threatened by human actions. So, to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the United Nations declared 20 May as World Bee Day.
These are ten surprising facts about bees:
- Only seven of the more than 20,000 bee species produce honey. In addition, Western honey bees produce 1.6 million tons of honey each year.
- A single honeybee usually visits about 7,000 flowers a day, and it takes four million visits to produce a kilo of honey.
- Daisies are an excellent food for pollinating bees because they flower almost all year round.
- More than 75% of the world’s food crops depend to some extent on pollination. Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, birds, moths, beetles and even bats, help plants to reproduce.
- Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, they are also vital for maintaining biodiversity. They also serve to alert us to new and emerging environmental risks, indicating the health of local ecosystems.
- Queen bees can live up to six years of age. Over time, however, their reproductive capacity decreases.
- If the queen bee dies, the workers will create a new queen by choosing a young larva from among the newborns and feeding it a special food called “royal jelly“.
- These insects are oriented with the sun. Because, they adjust their internal compass to the solar movements.
- When a bee detects food, it alerts its companions with a kind of dance.
- The giant bee, known by its scientific name Megachile Pluto, has an estimated wingspan of 6 centimeters.
Why is Bees Day celebrated on May 20th?
May 20th coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Anton Janša who, in the 18th century, pioneered modern beekeeping in his native Slovenia. Janša praised the good workers bees are and the little supervision they need from their work.