It’s not for nothing that bees are known for being industrious.
And it was not for nothing that Barry the bee, the protagonist in Bee Movie (2007), lamented that humans take a jar of honey every month when they bees live on less than one spoon a year.
Barry the bee had every right to be enraged. Why?
Because it takes 12 bees their entire lives to produce just about one teaspoon of honey for us to take away!
To be exact, the 12 worker bees would produce a little more than one teaspoon in their life. But just a little more. And since a little honey will be needed by the bees also in order to feed and maintain their colony, a teaspoon is virtually all that’s left for our taking from every dozen bees.
A worker bee’s lifespan is about six weeks, of which half is spent working outside the hive gathering pollen or nectar. In this short lifetime of work, the average worker bee will make only one twelfth of a teaspoon.
And to make a small jar of 450 grams of honey, about 2 million flowers have to be visited by many bees flying a total distance of 55,000 miles.
Thankfully worker bees are always available in their thousands and tens of thousands to do the hard work which gives us our their sweet thick liquid gold.