Bees are very important to agriculture, not only because of their delicious honey. About 80 percent of insect crop pollination is achieved by bees, according to the USDA. Almonds are completely dependent on bees to pollinate the crop. Many other crops, such as apples, avocados, blueberries, and sunflowers, are 90% dependent on honey bees. One-third of the human diet is comes from insect-pollinated plants.
There are between 115,000 – 125,000 beekeepers in the United States, most of which are hobbyists with less than 25 hives. Commercial beekeepers have 300 or more hives. In 2016, honey was harvested from 2.78 million colonies, averaging out to 58.3 pounds per colony. Honey is produced in all 50 states, with North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Florida, and California being the top producing states.
Honey Bees by the Numbers
- 1/12th of a teaspoon is the number of honey one worker bee produces in her lifetime.
- 55,000 miles is how far a bee must fly to produce one pound of honey.
- 90,000 is how many miles a honey bee will fly for 1 kg of honey, which is equivalent to three trips around the earth.
- 1 is the amount of ounces needed to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
- 50 – 100 flowers are visited by each bee during a collection trip.
- 2 million flowers are used to make one pound of honey.
- 20,000 – 60,000 honeybees make up a colony.
- 6 is the number of weeks a worker bee lives. All worker bees are female. Male bees are only around to reproduce.
- 5 years is how long a queen bee can live.
- 2,500 is the number of eggs a queen bee can lay per day. She has control over whether she lays male or female eggs. Stored sperm is used to hatch a female egg, which means eggs that are not fertilized become male bees.
- 6 to 8 pounds of honey is ingested to produce one pound of beeswax.
- 1.3 pounds of honey is consumed by the average American each year.
- 92-93 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature inside the hive at all time, no matter the temperature outside. In the winter bees form a tight cluster to keep the queen and themselves warm.