The bee’s knees

When we first started Project Sunshine, the children who planted sunflowers noticed that the golden flowers attracted lots of bees. Their discovery then led to many discussions about the importance of bees and what we can all do to encourage them in our neighbourhood gardens.

‘Helping the bees’ is now an important part of Project Sunshine. We appreciate the important work they do and want to teach others about the world’s most important pollinator too!

Here are fascinating bee facts:

  • About one third of everything we eat is pollinated by bees. Many of our crops would not be viable without bee pollination. Both honeybees and bumblebees are important pollinating insects.
  • Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years.
  • Honey bees transform nectar, a sweet substance secreted by flowers, into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation. They store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive.
  • To make honey, bees drop the collected nectar into the honeycomb and then evaporate it by fanning their wings.
  • There are three types of bees in the hive: queen, worker and drone.
  • Workers live about 45 days in the summer, while drones are driven out of the hive in Autumn. Queen bees can live for up to five years.
  • The queen may lay 1,500 or more eggs each day during her lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own body weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees.
  • A bee’s wings beat 190 times a second, that’s 11,400 times a minute – this creates their distinctive buzz.
  • Honey bees are the only bees that die after they sting.
  • Honey bees have five eyes: three small ones on top of the head and two big ones in front.
  • Bees communicate with each other by dancing and using pheromones (scents).

Over recent decades there has been a noticeable decrease in worldwide bee populations. In some places in the world, bees are simply disappearing. This is known as Colony Collapse Disorder. There are many different theories as to why this is occurring, but we do know there are a few things we can do to support bees, and they are simple:

  • Stop the use of pesticide sprays in our gardens. They not only kill bees, but also disorientate them, making it hard for them to return to their hives.
  • Plant plenty of food for them. Bees need flowers to forage, all year round. Flowers are not only great for bees but they make us feel good too! Click here to see a great list of other bee friendly flowers you can plant. 
  • Respect them. Our little friends the bees should not be feared. Once we appreciate the important work they do for us and how much we rely on them, the bees will be much better off. And so will we!