7 Sweet Facts About Honeybees

Get answers to frequently asked questions about these honey producing pollinators.

honeybee on sunflowerCourtesy Susan Grove/Country magazine
A honeybee collects pollen from a sunflower.

Why Are Honeybees Important?

Pollinators like bees are crucial in agriculture, affecting one out of every three bites of food we eat. So it’s important for gardeners to support them. Grow native plants and avoid insecticides! Learn fascinating facts about bumblebees.

What Do Honeybees Look Like?

Honeybees have four wings and six legs. Their bodies are golden yellow with brown bands. The queen is larger than the other honeybees. Her wings only cover two-thirds of her body. Discover key differences between bees and wasps.

How Fast Do Honeybees Fly?

Honeybees can fly up to 20 mph. Their speed and stamina allow them to forage for pollen up to 2 miles away from the hive. Learn 5 easy ways to help the bees.

How Are Honeybees Born?

Queen bees are the only females that reproduce. The pheromones they release prevent worker bees from making eggs, so the queen remains the mother and star of the hive. On any given day, a queen bee is able to lay up to 2,000 eggs. Learn how to identify bees and flies.

How Long Do Honeybees Live?

The life span of a bee depends on where it falls within the colony. Queens live up to seven years; workers born in spring or early summer live only five to six weeks. Check out the top 10 plants for bees and pollinators.

Where Do Honeybees Live?

Honeybees live in hives. Each hive has a very strict social structure composed of three groups: queens, workers and drones. There’s only one queen in healthy hives, plus 2,000 to 60,000 female workers that collect pollen and keep the hive running, and up to 500 larger male drones whose main job is to mate with the queen bee. Learn how to build a DIY bug hotel.

Are Honeybees Native to North America?

There are more than 20 subspecies of western honeybee, none of which are native to North America. They spread here after being brought from Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Discover 5 beneficial bees you want in your garden — and how to host mason bees in a bee house.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in magazine writing from the University of Missouri - Columbia. When she’s not writing and editing, you’ll find her swimming, running, or hiking. She knows blue jays are controversial, but she loves them anyway.