Bee and Honey Facts

Bee Facts

Why are bees important?

Bees are incredible organisms and are essential for our very existence.  They produce honey and wax as well as providing their services as pollinators.

 How to bees differ from wasps?

Wasps tend to be more aggressive than bees.  Wasps have more slender less hairy bodies than bees.  Bees are pollinators whereas wasps are predators.  A wasps nest is made of papery pulp whereas bees nests are made from wax.

What is in a bee colony?
Every bee colony has one queen with worker bees usually numbering about 10 000 in the winter and increased to as high as 50 000 in the summer.  The male bees are called drones and which number in the region of 1000.  At the end of the summer, the workers kill the drones so usually there are no drones during the winter period.  The colony also has its infant and junior bees at varying stages of development.  These start as eggs laid by the queen bee and then develop into larvae and pupae.  These developing bees spent their early life in individual cells and are collectively termed brood.

What’s the difference between a queen, drone and worker?
Queen – there is only one queen who is of course female.  The queen is the largest of the three bees despite being genetically identical to the worker bee it adapts in this way due to overfeeding.  It has wings extending half way down the abdomen which points at the end.

Drone – the male bee.  Similar in size to the queen but has a squarer build with large wings which cover the abdomen.  They have large compound eyes

Worker – the female bee, genetically identical to the queen bee.  However, about half the size of the queen and drone.

Honey Facts

 What are the health benefits of honey?
As a doctor, I’m fascinated by the health promoting qualities of honey.  It has numerous health benefits including:

  • strengthening the immune system
  • promotes wound healing (including diabetic ulcers and burns)
  • as effective as cough medicines
  • contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3
  • can help with allergic conditions such as hayfever
  • acts as a good skin moisturiser
How does honey differ from sugar?

  • Honey kills bacteria whereas sugar supports bacterial growth
  • Honey contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes whereas sugar doesn’t
  • Honey is alkaline reacting whereas sugar is acid reacting
  • When honey is burnt there is no toxic residue, whereas when sugar it burnt toxic metabolites form.