I have only been keeping our stripy friends for a few years but the great thing about beekeeping is the random facts you learn. So this page is devoted to this randomness!
OK, individual bees are not warm blooded, but as a "Super Organism" the centre of a bee hive is maintained fairly consistently at ~32-35⁰C, even if it is well below zero outside. How do they manage this? Same as you. They shiver to generate heat and evaporate water (i.e. sweat) to keep cool.
Some hornets attack bee colonies and can decimate entire hives. Not all bees fight back by stinging.....
Some Asian bees will lure the scout hornet into their colony. Once they are inside a sort of "Mexican Wave" kicks off and all the bees pile on top of the hornet and start shivering (see above). The heat is directed to the centre of the ball. The hornets heat tolerance is a couple of degrees below that of the bees so it gets..... COOKED!
The name "Dumbledore" comes from the old English name for Bumble Bee (they were also called Humble Bees). I guess good old J K knew her bees.
In the hive, the Ladies rule. Just two reasons not to be a male (drone) bee
1. In the Autumn the girls (workers) eject all the males (literally!) out the hive entrance and they just end up freezing/starving to death. If they are really unlucky and their "due" (hatch) date is in Autumn the girls might sling them out before they're even "born".
2. Sound bad? It gets worse. If a drone does manage to be successful and mate, the experience will leaves him fatally injured (something (!) gets snapped off in the process).
The Latin name for Honey Bee is Apis Melifera. If you look on our labels the ingredient "Mel" is in all the bath bombs. Mel is ancient Greek for Honey. Zeus, king of the Greek Gods was fed honey as a baby by a nymph called........ Melissa.
And Deborah? Deborah is Hebrew for Bee. (Brings a new perspective to being called "Debbie")
Queen bees are able to choose the gender of their offspring, and they've been doing it for millions of years. One of the keys to this capability is the Spermotheca, a specialised organ which contains the sperm from the Queens mating flight and will allow the queen to produce tens of thousands of offspring.
The Queen measures the size of the cell (container that holds the egg/larvae) with her forelegs and a tiny amount of sperm from the spermotheca is mixed with an egg and a fertilised egg is deposited into the cell. This will become a little girl bee (Queen or worker)
If the cell is larger (drone cell), she doesn't mix any sperm with the egg and an unfertilised egg is deposited. This will become a little boy bee (drone).
As surreal as it sounds, Check it out Enjoy!
I will add/change these facts regularly so please check back occasionally.
Finally, I bit of a disclaimer. I have only been keeping bees for a few years and I know there are hundreds of beekeepers in the UK far more experienced than me. So if you are a beekeeper I hope you enjoyed reading these (maybe even learnt something?). If one of the above needs a tweak or maybe you have a favorite fact you would like added, either way please don't hesitate to drop me a message and I'll update the page.