Bees are among the most instantly recognisable of all insects – and we all know what a wonderful job they do pollinating our plants, but apart from all that buzzing about in the sunshine making honey, what do you really know about them?
With bee numbers falling around the world for reasons which even now aren’t fully understood, there’s never been a better time to try to get to know a bit more about these busy little stripy chaps and the more you discover, the more amazing they seem.
Try our quick quiz to find out how much you already know and perhaps learn something new along the way.
The answers are at the bottom – so have fun!
1. Which of the following is NOT a kind of bee?
- a) Bumble
- b) Honey
- c) Hornet
2. Too easy? OK try this one – how many species of bee are found in the UK ?
- a) 3
- b) 30
- c) 300
3. Honey bees and Bumble bees have 3 castes; are they:
- a) A king, a queen and female workers?
- b) A queen, females workers and males drones?
- c) A queen, male workers and female drones?
4. How many eggs can a queen Honey bee lay EACH DAY ?
- a) 200
- b) 2,000.
- c) 20,000
5.How many meals will a developing worker larva eat ?
- a) 1,300 a day.
- b) 1,300 a week.
- c) 1,300 in total.
6. What is the top speed of a Honey bee in flight?
- a) 12 mph
- b) 22 mph
- c) 32 mph
7. Some kinds of Bumble bees lay their eggs in other Bumble bees’ nests:
- or False?
8. Which group do most of the world’s bee species belong to?
- a) Solitary bees
- b) Bumble bees
- c) Honey bees
9. What do bees collect from plants?
- a) Pollen and honey
- b) Pollen and nectar
- c) Nectar and wax
10. We all know bees are important pollinators, but how much is that worth to British growers?
- a) £2 million a year
- b) £20 million a year
- c) £200 million a year
11. How many flower visits go into making 1kg of honey?
- a) 2,000
- b) 20,000
- c) 200,000
12. How many PAIRS of wings does a bee have?
- a) 1
- b) 2
- c) 3
1. It’s (c) the hornet, which is a type of wasp.
2. The answer is (c); there are over 19,000 species of bee in the world and around 300 of them live in Britain.
3. It’s (b) a single queen (female, obviously!), a number of partially developed female workers and male drones.
4. It’s (b) again – she can lay up to a staggering 2,000 eggs a day, which represents about twice her own body weight!
5. According to the British Beekeepers Association, it’s (a) – an incredible 1,300 times on average EACH DAY!
6. Answer (b) – a Honey bee’s top speed is around 22 mph – around five times faster than a fast human walk!
7. It’s true; called Cuckoo bees (for obvious reasons), Psithyrus Bumble bees lay their eggs in other Bumble bees’ nests who then raise them as their own. Cuckoo bees themselves have no “worker” caste.
8. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s (a) the Solitary bees – some 270 (around 90 per cent) of Britain’s bee species, for example, belong to this group.
9. Pollen and nectar – answer (b).
10. Amazingly, the work that Honey bees and Bumble bees do as pollinators has been valued at £200 million a year – so the answer is (c).
11. It’s (b). Around 20,000 flower visits – and 1000 individual foraging flights – go into each kilo of honey produced.
12. Bees have two pairs of wings, so it’s (b) – and they can beat them at up to 180 times a second!
So, how did you do?
- 11 – 12, The bees knees!
- 7 – 10, In the honey!
- 3 – 6, A bit of a buzz!
- 0 – 2, Still in the hive!