Bees are important for our ecosystem. They are pollinators for flowers, fruits, and vegetables. They help other plants grow and are very important for our nature. Now they may not be your favourite insect, but you must learn about them and share your knowledge with your kids too, if they love animals and insects. In this article, we have covered some interesting information about bees, read and share this info. with your animal and insect lovers!
Different Types of Bees
There are more than 20,000 species of bees found on our planet. However, these species can be broadly categorized into the following four groups:
1. Honey Bees
Found in almost all parts of the world, honey bees live in large families. Honey bees are very social and their colonies can survive for a long time. Honey bees live in hives or colonies, and the members of the colonies are divided into three types: queens, workers, and drones. Honey bees have their stingers attached to them, and these get torn if they bite, this means that they can only bite once.
Their nests are mostly found on the crevices of trees; however, they also build nests in chimneys and attics.
These tiny insects produce honey, which they store in their honeycomb. This is also used for feeding their young ones during the winter months.
They may appear of no use, but these insects are responsible for pollinating as many as 100 crops in the United States.
2. Killer Bees
Killer bees or Africanized Killer bees are very similar to honey bees, but their wing measurements make them different. They have a scary name, but their stings are not that venomous. However, they attack in large numbers and can be dangerous, especially to people who have bee sting allergies. It is best to keep a safe distance from killer bees. If you’re chased by them, then running in a zigzag pattern can confuse them.
These bees have smaller nests, and you will find them at the most unusual places, such as in tires or on boxes, crates, etc.
These bees collect pollen and nectar, which is used for feeding their larvae and other members of the nest.
These bees, just like their other counterparts, are very beneficial in the pollination of crops and plants.
Apart from being very social and living in large families, bumblebees are one of the most beneficial insects as they help in pollinating crops. One of the interesting bumblebee facts is that these bees have smooth stringers that do not get torn on biting and thus they can bite more than once, unlike honey bees.
Although bumblebees prefer nesting in the ground, they can also be found nesting in other places such as patios, decks, attics, roof beams, etc.
They collect nectar and pollen from flowers, which are not only fed to the larvae and other bees in the nest.
These bees are important pollinators of both crops and wildflowers.
4. Carpenter Bees
These bees are called carpenter bees because they can even drill through wood. Unlike other bees, these bees like to make smaller nests, which are just for them and their young ones. They can sting a number of times as their stringers are not barbed.
These bees drill their nests inside softer wooden surfaces. The wood is chewed by female bees for building the nest.
These bees collect nectar and pollen from plants that are used to feed their young ones and other bees in the nest.
These bees are helpful in pollinating plants and crops that are usually ignored by other bees.
Characteristics of Bees
Bees are from a family of insects. A bee’s body is divided into three main parts, which include a head, thorax, and abdomen, and they have six legs. Their body is covered with hair, and the length of the hair can vary according to different species. Most people mistake bees to be wasps, but they are very different from each other, as bees not only have unique wings but they also have tiny comb-like structures on their arms that are used for cleaning their antennae.
Do Bees Have Any Hunting Predators?
When it comes to natural predators of these buzzing creatures, there are not many predators that hunt them. Some predators that hunt them include small mammals, reptiles, birds, dragonflies, etc. Apart from these, there are animals like bears that destroy beehives completely in order to obtain honey from the hives.
How Do Bees Protect Themselves?
The best safety mechanism adopted by bees to protect themselves is by building their hives in places that are hard to access or hard for predators to find. Bees also use stinger to sting the predator! When a bee stings, the stinger comes of its body and stays on the victim to release venom. It also signals other bees to come to the rescue. A bee sting is not very venomous, but it can cause a great amount of pain. However, it can be fatal for people with bee sting allergies.
Other Interesting Facts and Information About Bees for Children
Here are some facts about bees that you can share with your children.
- The nest of the bees is called beehives. The bees living in these hives or colonies are divided into three groups: queen bees, the worker bees, and the drones. The beehive has a special hexagonal structure that is known as a comb.
- One of the cool facts about bees is that they can see almost all colours. However, they are not able to see the colour red. It is their strong sense of smell that attracts them towards various flowers to collect nectar and pollen.
- One of the interesting facts about carpenter bees is that they not only drill through the wood but can make deep tunnels in it, which may appear few inches deep but can actually be as much as 10 feet deep.
- Honey bees are great flyers, and they can flutter their tiny wings as many as 200 times in a single second. They can also fly at a speed of 25 miles per hour.
- The queen bee is the only bee in the hive that is responsible for laying eggs, and she can lay as many as 2500 eggs per day. And it can take up to 21 days for each egg to turn into a bee.
- The lifespan of a worker bee can be anywhere from five to six weeks and in this time. And during this time, it may help in producing about a one-twelfth teaspoon of honey.
- In case the queen bee dies, the worker bees choose a young larva as the new queen bee. This chosen larva is fed special royal jelly that helps in developing the larva into a fertile and healthy queen.
- The male bees, also known as drones, are welcome to stay in the colony for only the spring and summer months. As soon as the winter sets in, these males are thrown out of the colony.
- Bees have a heightened sense of smell.
- Bees are very hardworking, and the worker bees work really hard to fetch nectar and pollen from flowers. In a single round, a worker bee can visit anywhere from 50 to 100 flowers.
- Bees are very social and have large colonies. On average, around 50 000 bees can stay in a single beehive.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interesting information and facts about bees for kids. Share this fun information with your kids, too, and help them learn about bees!