The Book of Six © Six Facts About Honey Bees in General


  1. Honey bees don’t like the smell of bananas, but like the smell of lemons.*
  2. They do not create honey, they improve upon a plant produce – nectar.  Nectar is repeatedly regurgitated and dehydrated to make it into honey.
  3. Bees fly 15 miles an hour at a wing beat over 11,000 cycles per minute.
  4. One pound of honey took 2 million bee trips to flowers.
  5. Fly out of the hive to use the bathroom
  6. Flies a 2.5 radius from the hive.

Each year, bees pollinate 95 crops worth an estimated $10 billion in the US alone.  Along with other pollinators, bees contribute to one-third of the world’s diet.

*  According to Bob Allen, “The banana odor is similar to the odor of the pheromone given off when a bee stings. Other bees associate this with “danger” or “some dumb beekeeper is invading my hive!!” It excites them to attack intruders. Smoking the hive theoretically blocks the banana smell. So if you are stung at the hive, it is smart to smoke the site of the sting.

The lemon odor mimics a pheromone given off by bees that have the job to attract her sisters to their hive. You sometimes see one or more bees sitting on their front porch with their butts facing away from the hive fanning with their wings to spread this lemon smell into the air. It lets the sisters know it is okay to enter the hive. Bees also do this when they
swarm and are locating a new home. Scout bees do the fanning at the entrance of the new home. Rubbing the herb lemon balm on an empty hive is sometimes used to attract a swarm.”

Book of Six © Six Facts About the Queen Bee

Book of Six © Six Facts About Worker Bees

Book of Six © Six Facts About Honey Bee Drones

Special thanks to Bob Allen, bee keeper, for your time in providing us with all this great information and for allowing us to tour your hives.
Bringing in Pollen

Photo credit:  Bob Allen

Copy and photos by Helen Yoest

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening With Confidence Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her Facebook page, the Gardening With Confidence fan page. Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum.


  1. Sue said

    I enjoyed learning some things about bees. Thanks! I have been seeing several kinds of bees, including honey bees on my flowers. Now that I think about it, I think our university has some bee hives within that 2.5 mile range. I wonder what they do with the honey.

  2. Hey Sue, thanks, it was fun learning about them. We have bees at the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University. The bee keeper harvests the honey. Haven’t had any yet, but love the idea of it. H.

  3. Racquel said

    I never knew that bees didn’t like the smell of banana. Very interesting and informative post Helen. 🙂

  4. Hey Racquel, I didn’t know until I wrote this either. I learned a lot! H.

  5. Janet said

    This is all so interesting. What a great trip you had with Mr. Allen. Thanks for sharing this information to the rest of us.

  6. Yes Janet, Mr. Allen was very fun and into it. He just started keeping bees about 3 years ago. I couldn’t keep all the bee distinctions in my head, so I though it would be beneficial to break it down. Glad it was well received. H.

  7. mbhobe said

    Enjoyed this post-thank you! I keep bees and they amaze every

  8. mbhobe said

    sorry my dog just hit my enter button! wanted to finish off by saying the honeybees amaze me everyday.

  9. Lots of good bee info, thanks! I’ll bee sure to leave my beenanas elsewhere when I bee in the garden.

  10. Cute – beenanas!

    I would like to have bees, and Mr. Allen offered to help me get started. Maybee in the spring. One hive….maybe

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