Although bee brains are incredibly small—just one million neurons compared to humans’ 100 billion—they have remarkable abilities to navigate, learn, solve problems, communicate, and remember.
- Global bee diversity is about the same as the number of fish species. There are 21,000 species in the world, with roughly 3,500 species from the continental US alone.
- Most in the world are actually ground-nesting and solitary, with no queen or workers. Only about 10% of the world’s bees are social, including honeybees and bumblebees.
- Bees are sentient, self-aware, can likely feel pain, and may have a simple form of consciousness.
- Despite being the size of a poppy seed, a honeybee’s brain is quite complex. It has almost one million neurons and up to a billion synaptic connections.
- Bee eyes detect ultraviolet light. They can see hidden UV nectar guide patterns that are invisible to humans.
- Bees have been trained how to use a string as a tool, pulling the string to access a sugar reward under a clear plastic cover.
- Far more than mindless drones, bees may actually play. In a laboratory, bumblebees rolled small wooden balls around without rewards.
- Bees can not only count to four, but they can also remember the shapes, scents, and colors of flowers for up to three days.
- 130 million years ago, bees evolved from carnivorous wasps during the early Cretaceous period. These first ones were tiny, just a few millimeters long, matching the size of the earliest flowers.
Founded more than 100 years ago, the National Garden Bureau educates, inspires, and motivates people to grow home gardens. National Garden Bureau members are horticultural experts, and the information shared with you comes directly from these experts to ensure your gardening success.
“This post is provided as an educational/inspirational service of the National Garden Bureau and our members. Please credit and link to National Garden Bureau when using all or parts of this article.”