Hos Stuff Works: ” As trees and flowers blossom in spring, bees emerge from their winter nests and burrows. For many species it’s time to mate, and some will start new solitary nests or colonies. Bees and other pollinators are essential to human society. They provide about one-third of the food we eat, a service with a global value estimated at up to $577 billion annually. But bees are interesting in many other ways that are less widely known. In my new book, “What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees,” I draw on my experience studying bees for almost 50 years to explore how these creatures perceive the world and their amazing abilities to navigate, learn, communicate and remember. Here’s some of what I’ve learned.
- Most Don’t Make Honey
- Bees Are Brainy
- Their Sensory World Is Different Than Ours
- They’re Fast Learners
- Bees Pollinate with Vibrations
- Bees Need Our Help
1. Most Don’t Make Honey – Because people are widely familiar with honeybees, many assume that all bees are social and live in hives or colonies with a queen. In fact, only about 10 percent of bees are social, and most types don’t make honey. Most bees lead solitary lives, digging nests in the ground or finding abandoned beetle burrows in dead wood to call home. Some bees are cleptoparasites, sneaking into unoccupied nests to lay eggs, in the same way that cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds’ nests and let the unknowing foster parents rear their chicks.A few species of tropical bees, known as vulture bees, survive by eating carrion. Their guts contain acid-loving bacteria that enable the bees to digest rotting meat…”
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