honeybees in entrance of hive

25 Fascinating Honey Bee Facts to Sweeten the Mind

Honey bees are fascinating creatures. Not only do they make delicious honey, but they also are responsible for pollinating crops. Even though wine grapes are cultivated (meaning they don’t rely on bees for pollination), bees are crucial to a healthy and thriving vineyard. They pollinate cover crops, which in turn replenish nutrients in the soil and draw beneficial predators who deter vineyard pests. A vineyard buzzing with honey bees is a healthy, biodiverse vineyard. Here are 25 fascinating honey bee facts sure to inspire you to plant a bee garden.

25 Fun Facts about Honey Bees and Honey

Honey bees with honeycomb

1. Dancing is a form of bee communication.

2. Worker bees are females that have different jobs throughout their lives; they do everything that drones and the queen don’t.

3. Drone bees are male and have only one job: to mate with the queen.

queen bee
A queen bee being released into a Jordan Winery beehive.

4. Queen bees have only one responsibility: to lay eggs.

honey bees in beehive
Photo courtesy of John Curley.

5. Super interesting honey bee fact: Bees have five eyes—two for color, light and direction of light; and three for measuring light.

6. Where and when bees sleep is determined by their age and their jobs.

honey bee on wildflower
Photo courtesy of Mirabai Nicholson-McKellar of FlowHive, taken in the Jordan garden.

7. Bees are cold-blooded insects; they vibrate their wings to stay warm.

8. Baby queen bees dine exclusively on royal jelly.

9. The European honey bee is native to Africa but isn’t aggressive.

honey bee colony
A new colony of honey bees becoming established at Jordan Estate.

10. European honey bees were introduced to the New World by Europeans.

11. Italian bees are the most docile; African bees the most aggressive.

12. Bees convert the sugar in honey into wax.

quince paste membrillo garnished with bee pollen
Homemade quince paste is garnished with bee pollen on a Jordan Winery cheese plate.

13. Pollen is the bees’ protein source.

14. Bees harvest resins and saps (known as propolis) to waterproof their hives.

15. Honey bee fact for the healthy folks out there: Bees make their own bee bread by fermenting pollen.

wild poppies and lupine flowers at Jordan Winery
California poppies and Lupine wildflowers at Jordan Estate.

16. It takes the nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey.

17. Honey bees add an enzyme to honey that turns into hydrogen peroxide, making the honey antibacterial.

honey pouring on bento box
Honey garnishes honeycomb in a bento box at Jordan Winery.

18. Honey can help heal wounds and burns through a combination of the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s antibacterial nature.

19. Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants that may reduce the risk of some certain cancers and heart disease.

20. Ancient Olympic athletes ate honey to enhance their performance.

beekeeper with frame at Jordan Winery
Mike Turner of Marin Coastal Beekeeping examines honeycomb at Jordan Winery.

21. Honey’s exact combination of fructose and glucose helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.

22. Honey is the third most faked food in the world, according to Larry Olmsted, author of Real Food, Fake Food. Only olive oil and cheese are faked more often than honey.

23. China was banned from importing honey into Europe in 2010 by the 27 countries of the European Union. “Honey laundering”—the smuggling of adulterated Chinese honey, which is a mixture of real honey with syrup and other foreign honey labeled as pure honey, into the US—is widespread. This fraud has been called “Honeygate.”

24. China is the world’s largest producer of honey and exports large amounts to the rest of the world, according to the Netflix documentary series, Rotten.

brands of honey

25. You can tell the difference between real honey and fake honey by checking stickiness, thickness, taste and smell with this easy test.

One final honey bee fact: The Jordan Estate apiary features seven beehives and a carefully designed bee flower garden. Reserve the Estate Tour & Tasting or book a Vineyard Hike today to see the Jordan apiary and taste Jordan Estate Honey You can also learn more about beekeeping at Jordan by watching this video.

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About the Author

Growing up in Hawaii, Todd Knoll developed a strong connection to the land and the ocean at an early age. As executive chef at Jordan Winery, he grows hundreds of heirloom vegetables, fruits and herbs, cooks hors d’oeuvres and meals for guests, makes olive oil, and tends to the estate’s honeybees and chickens. A visual artist at heart, Chef Knoll spends his free time with his son and wife, Nitsa Knoll, exploring the diverse terrain of Sonoma County with camera and pencil in hand, capturing moments in nature to inspire his next recipe.

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