honey bee, honey bees

Honey bees are amazing creatures and they are so much more than simply pollinators and honey producers. Considering their size, they are true wonders of nature and one of the more intelligent and fascinating creates on this planet. While you may think you know honey bees, I guarantee there are at least one or two surprises in here for you.

Bees Work Themselves to Death

During the winter, it is all about survival for the honey bee. During the summer months, however, it is all about work. They are so dedicated to their jobs, in fact, bees end up working themselves to death. The average lifespan for a bee during the summer months is a mere six weeks.

Bees Like Coffee Too (sort of)

Did you know that many plants have caffeine-laced nectar? This is a natural defense mechanism that wards off some insects while luring in pollinators. Scientists have found that the caffeine in the plant also serves to trigger the bees memory as to the location of the nectar. So, yes, bees are just as addicted to caffeine as most of us that need our morning cup before we can ever even begin to function properly.

Bees Have Built-in GPS

Let’s say you are a traveling salesman and you have to visit multiple locations during a single day. For you to properly plan that out, meaning the shortest and most effective route from location to location, you would have to consult a map and use your GPS to find out the ideal route, right? Well, bees are instinctively able to map out the day’s route. In fact, according to researchers at London’s Royal Holloway University, they are the ONLY animals that have been able to solve this problem on their own.

Bees Help Police (again, sort of)

Bees have unique behavior that as it turns out, is very similar to most serial killers. Bees will collect pollen close to their hives, but not so close that their natural predators are able to locate them. Serial killers behave much the same way. For this reason, bee behavior was used to create algorithms used by law enforcement to find criminals.

Bees Can Recognize Faces

Bees use something called “configural processing” to recognize faces. This is the same process our brains use for recognition. Without getting overly technical, the bee’s brain allows it to recognize facial features, such as the nose and eyebrows, how they are constructed, and where they are located, to recognize human faces. Their process is something some scientists believe can be used to make facial recognition software even better than it already is.

So, my friends, you see, bees are far more complex than simple pollinators that provide us with the golden goo. They are extremely complex creatures that contribute far more to society than making sure our crops are in full bloom and the honey shelves are stocked!

Photo by Enrique Vidal Flores on Unsplash

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