10 Things You Might Not Know About Bees & Honey

This guest post comes from our contributor FP Naomi.

All our lives we grow up deathly afraid of bees. I’m no exception to the rule, yet I’ve always found it curious. How can something so small turn a giant human into a scaredy cat running for the hills?

With such horrible dread comes great wonder. We’re in awe of these magical creatures and their golden substance – so much so that humans used to worship their holiness. Today we create homes for the bees and harvest their honey. We’re battling to keep them safe because despite all of our fears, we need them. The bees pollinate our flowers which clean the air; they make delicious honey to sweeten our tea; and they create beeswax that keeps our candles lit well into the night. They are our friend and our foe. The substance that they create is the stuff of our deepest desires.

But I bet there are a few things you never knew about our strange little friends…

bee on flower

10 Things You Might Not Know About Bees & Honey:

1. A bee in the house means a visit from a stranger, and if you kill the bee, the visit will not be a good one.
2. Bees are not native to the Americas. They were brought over with European settlers in the seventeenth century.
3. Honey will never spoil if it’s stored in an airtight container. Honey was found in King Tut’s tomb that was still edible.
4. Old folktales tell that if someone in the family dies, it is important to inform the bees. The bees will spread the news.
5. Regular consumption of local honey will stave off seasonal allergies. Since the honey was made with local pollen, your body builds a resistance.
6. Honey was used as far back as ancient times. In Egypt it was used as payment and even buried with the dead. The Greek thought it to be food fit for the gods. It was custom in ancient Greece to offer honey to deceased spirits.
7. Honey is a Hebrew word which means “enchant.”
8. In Celtic mythology, bees were thought to be the messengers between our world and the spirit realm.
9. The queen bee is the only bee in the hive that does not have a barbed stinger. This means she can repeatedly sting like a wasp.
10. Bees must visit approximately 2 million flowers & fly over 55,000 miles to make 1 lb. of honey.

Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot!


  1. I’ve really come to appreciate bees in the past few years because of all they do for us humans. I think this article is a great reminder of their beauty and power! However, I think it is important to point out that many bees are dying/disappearing around the world due the the phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder. There is a lot of speculation as to why this is happening, but many believe it can be generally attributed to toxins and pesticides in the food supply and soil. I encourage everyone to eat and buy organic (and GMO-free) produce, home, and body products as much as possible! Save the bees :) They give us life and food!

  2. Great blog! Love that the bees are getting some recognition! Quick fact check on #9 though; Drones do not have stingers so the queen is not the only bee without a barbed stinger. Also, while her stinger is not barbed, the queen only uses her stinger to sting other queens.

  3. I’m getting a bee tattoo for my birthday in a few weeks. Love them!

    On #2 you may want to specify that honey bees are not native to the Americas. There are thousand of native bees :) But then again, I guess people may assume you are talking about the honey in the entire blog post…

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Whoa, I just recently started using raw/organic honey and love adding more of it to my diet (and using it in my hair). Love the top photo Naomi! How fun.

  5. Honey is almost impossible to call organic. Although the farmer may not use chemicals and pesticides with the bees, he cannot control where they get the pollen. Bees collect in about a 2 mile radius. This means that in order for you to call your honey organic, even your next door neighbor can’t spray her cabbages.

  6. I love this post! I remember growing up I was never afraid of bees and I would get horribly mad at anyone who tried to swat at bees or kill them. good memories haha…
    I would also just like to point out that bees are native to America, just not the kind that we domesticated and eat their honey. The kind of bees that are common today and that we eat the honey from are the ones from Europe.

  7. My research is on bees; one of the easiest things to do to help the European Honey bees (or any other large colony bee) is to plant flowers and keep them organic. Fun article! Glad to see people are already pointing out that there are many bees native to the Americas.

  8. I was hoping this post would be about why not to eat honey. Bee work so hard to produce their honey each bee only produces a tiny amount, they are smoked or gassed out of their hives by farmers who essentially steal their precious honey..some dying each time. Bees will soon be extinct and it’s a shame when their are some great alternatives to bee honey like agave or maple syrup which are natural and vegan friendly.

  9. The best skincare regime I ever implemented into my life was to apply a mask of pure honey on my face before bedtime. Since it’s a natural remedy, it takes a month or two to build up. If you do it at least five nights a week, your skin will look flawless. Honey reduces redness, and helped me skin so much! I absolutely love what it has done for me. Love!

  10. Shaya- As an almond grower, I see first hand how important bees are to our agriculture. Bees help produce everything from kiwis, to blueberries, nuts, grains, oranges and many stone fruits. The best byproduct of this pollination is the honey! Without these bees, many of the numerous fruits we all enjoy would be gone. Do you know what would happen to these hives if the farmers didn’t “steal” the honey. Essentially the Queen will run out of space, the drones would die, leading to the hive failure. HIVE failure. We already have enough issue with hive loss due to the Colony Collapse. We can’t just go neglecting the honey. Then where are the bees? Extraction of the honey is essential for is continuing existence. The life of a bee is to make honey via pollination and reproduction. So saying ” they work so hard” is true. They work extremely hard and are very intelligent insects. They function exactly how nature designed them to. However, it IS their purpose to make honey. Do you feel the same about an onion, that has worked very hard growing, soaking in sun, feeding on nutrients from the earth, then it’s harvested right at its prime, before it’s had its chance to seed, and reproduce? It’s the cycle of farming, the bees and their honey are imperative to the production of our country’s, and the worlds food supply.

  11. If you are interested in learning about beekeeping your area should have a local apiary supplier or even a local beekeeping association with monthly meetings that are free for visitors to attend. Both of these options usually do classes on beekeeping, candles, honey, etc. We even have a mason bee expert in our area who offers classes (anyone can put out specially sized reeds to attract wild, and calm mason bees to come pollinate). Another very cool thing for beginners is Hive Hosting… check with your local beekeeping association or apiary supplier… A beekeeper can set up a hive on your property, and come and maintain it, you get a percentage of the honey, and also what the beekeeper does seasonally with the bees. My daughter’s in 4H beekeeping, and her leader STRESSES to use smoke as the very, very, very last resort. Our kids are around the honeybees, and we’ve all been safe while learning so much from them. A cool conservation, activism, and citizen science site for pollinators is The Xcerces Society in Oregon!

  12. Oh, also, I’ve grown up with dry skin, exzema. I kept hearing about honey… It totally works. Use it like you would soap. It’s best to use it at least twice a day morning and night. I keep some by the kitchen sink so I won’t forget to use it on my hands! I also use it as a face wash, and you can feel the difference after the first wash. Your skin will be much, much softer. I thought it would be sticky and annoying to wash off for my face and hands- not at all. My hands are in the best shape they’ve ever been.

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