Even though bees have been in the news a lot recently, it seems like people don’t necessarily know too much about them. They work hard, live in colonies, collect honey and are capable of stinging. This doesn’t really apply to all species, but it’s still the general spark notes of the common knowledge. There’s actually so much more to know about these little flying creatures.
For one thing, a bee sting can have some benefits. First and foremost, it has a toxin called melittin which may prevent HIV by damaging the virus’ protective envelope. Furthermore, they can also help ease the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. As it turns out, it raises your body’s level of glucocorticoid, which is an anti-inflammatory hormone.
Second, while bees can live for nine months in the fall, in the summer they actually work themselves to death, often living less then six weeks.
Third, when they change roles, they change their brain chemistry again. They’re essentially hardwired to do certain jobs, but regular honeybees often perform multiple jobs in their lifetime, and between these gigs their brain changes.
Similarly, along with their chemistry changing, their brain can stop aging as well, and even age in reverse, as in they begin thinking like younger bees. This only happens when aging bees do jobs that are typically done by younger members.
Fifth, many of the things they make we can use for medicine, including a resin that they use as a glue for beehive.
Sixth, they can recognize our faces.
Seventh, they have personalities, some being more timid than others, others being bigger risk takers. Not all bees are interchangeable with each other.
Eighth, cocaine and coffee gives them a buzz a similar way that it does us, even experiencing withdrawal after they’ve been taken away.
Ninth, they navigate like Vikings. They use the sun as a compass, but if it’s a cloudy day they’ll use sunstones, which are chunks of calcite that act like a Polaroid filter, help them stay on course.
Next, they’re alarmingly good at math. Bees can have several destinations they need to go to, but in their brain they can easily find the quickest route to cover everywhere they have to go.
Finally, they’re some of the most economical builders out there. Honeycombs use the least amount of wax of all possible structures in nature, but beyond that, the walls meet an exact 120 degree angle for each comb.
For a continued reading on this matter, click here for Metal Floss’ article in its entirety.