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Bee Facts

• A single bee colony can produce more than 100 pounds (45 kg) of extra honey and this is what is harvested by the beekeeper.

• Some beekeepers in Alberta and Saskatchewan regularly harvest over 300 lbs (136 kg) of honey per colony.

• It takes one colony of honey bees (around 30,000 bees) to pollinate an acre of fruit trees. Pollination success increases if there are more honey bees present at the time of peak flowering.

• A colony of honey bees in early spring has 10,000-15,000 bees.

• A colony of honey bees in summer has 50-60,000 bees. A honey bee flies up to 24 km /hr or 15 mph and its wings beat 200 times per second or 12,000 beats / minute.

• A normal colony of honey bees contains only one QUEEN who may lay 2,000 eggs per day during her busy season
there may be 60,000 or more WORKER bees (undeveloped females ) who do all the work. There will also be several hundred DRONES (Male bees).

• A worker bee gathers in her entire life 0.8 gram (0.0288 ounce) of honey.

• It requires 556 worker bees to gather a pound of honey.

• Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.

• The average life of a honey bee during the working season is about six weeks.

• Nectar as gathered by the bee contains about 70% water (Honey is about 17% water).

• Bees remove the excess moisture from nectar by rapidly fanning their wings over the open cells in the hive.

• Honey varies in colour from white through golden to dark brown and usually the darker the colour the stronger the flavour.

• The value of bees pollinating fruits vegetables and legumes is 10 times the value of honey produced (over $1 billion in Canada)

• Natural pollinators are disappearing rapidly and each year we become more dependent on honey bees for many of our daily foods

• Honey is one of the safest food- most harmful bacteria cannot live in honey for any length of time.

* From The Canadian Honey Council booklet The Story of Honey by L K Dennis illustrated by Robert Kunz and the Canadian Honey Council Teachers Kit