Thanks for your bee-autiful questions about bees 1K!

Hopefully, these answers are the bee’s-knees!

Are bees faster than humans? (Marie Ward)

Absolutely, Marie! Bees are like tiny speedsters in the sky, zooming around at up to 24 kilometres per hour. The average human can typically run up to 12 kilometres per hour, so while you may not be able to out pace them, someone like Usain Bolt, who can reach speeds up to 37.58km per hour over 100 metres, might stand a better chance bee-cause bees tend to give up after about this distance!

Do bees have soft or hard stingers? (Arlee MacBeth)

Bees have stingers that are tough little weapons! They’re not like fluffy clouds or marshmallows; they’re more like teeny-tiny swords made of chitosan, a fibre similar to the outside of a prawn or crab shell, that they use to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

How many different types of bees are there? (Koda Phillips)

Bees come in all sorts of cool types! In Australia alone, there are 2000 different types of native bees and globally there are over 20,700 (and counting) and they differ by colour, shape, size, bee-haviour, and habitat.

Do bees communicate with each other? (Hezakai Cochrane)

Bees are fantastic dancers and chatterboxes in their own way. When a bee finds a delicious food source, it doesn’t just keep it to itself; instead, it busts out some serious moves. This special dance, known as the “waggle dance,” is like a buzzing GPS system. The bee wiggles and jiggles in a particular pattern, telling its fellow hive-mates exactly where to find the tasty treats. It’s like having a secret code that only bees can understand, helping them work together as a busy bee team.

How fast can bees fly? (Leo-John Daley)

Bees are surprisingly swift! The majority of species zip through the air at speeds of up to 24 kilometres per hour, quite impressive for their small size. However, the Western Honey Bee, found in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, stands out, capable of reaching speeds of up to 32 km/hr.

Do bees have two stomachs? (Ellie Gould)

You’re on the right the track there Ellie – bees actually do have two stomachs! One stomach is for storing nectar, which they turn into honey later. The other stomach is for digesting their food.

How long do bees live for? (Brian Morgan)

Bee-lieve it or not, bees have different lifespans depending on their job in the hive. Worker bees, who are the busy bees collecting food and taking care of the babies, usually only live for a few weeks. But the queen bee, who’s the big boss in charge of laying eggs and ruling the hive, can live for a few years, reigning over her buzzing kingdom!


Narrabri-based scientist Dr Bec Thistlethwaite will contribute a fortnightly column to The Courier on the science in our daily lives. Readers are invited to send their science questions in to Dr Bec via [email protected]

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