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Bees are fascinating creatures. They still puzzle brilliant minds till date with their fascinating capabilities and science is yet to fully understand why and how they do what they do. The amazement of science in regards to these insects ranges from their structure to their abilities and organisation. Bees have been known to do some things that marvel from scientific angles: A queen bee is the mother of all the other bees in the hive. All worker bees in a colony are female. Their jobs include feeding the Queen, feeding the drones (male bees), cleaning the hive, repairing the hive, nursing larvae, fetching pollen and nectar, making honey, defending the hive and food collection. Worker bees however are sterile with only the queen bee eligible to lay eggs in the entire colony. She can lay 1500 to 3000 eggs. This load of activities is in contrast to the drones; these fellas just idle all day long except when they copulate with the queen bee which happens quite scarcely. However, when shortage of supplies occur in the dry season, they are chased away from the hive. The queen bee can live up to 4 years while her children live for about a month. It is surprising to know that even bees have a special meal dedicated only for the queen bee and the queen-to-be-larvae. No other bee in the hive eats from this meal even though it is a produced by the worker bees. Called royal jelly, it’s like a mother’s milk only in this case it is made by adult worker bees. It is found to be nutritious and is the main reason why queen bees are larger and able to lay many eggs. But here is something you may not have known about bees: A bee has five eyes. Surprised? Yes, it’s true. Each bee has 2 compound eyes and 3 simple eyes. The simple eyes are located atop the fore part of its head and are arranged in a triangular manner. Each compound eye of a bee contains 6900 transparent convex lenses. Each of these lenses has distinctively functional visual facets – each working independently. Its like having 6900 broom sticks in a bunch – get it? What makes the visual prowess of bees quite suited for their activities is their ability to observe ultraviolet light. A worker bee will observe the ultraviolet light radiated from a flower’s petal just like a plane will recognise the lights on an airport runway. The other three eyes have single lenses and allow the bee to use sunlight to see. Amazing right? Here is something even more interesting: bees have hairy eyes. These hairs help them to detect wind direction and to stay on course during windy times. Also, bees have better motion detecting capacity than humans. Humans can only register a motion that occurs in 1/50th of a second. A bee in super contrast can observe the start and finish of a motion that is 1/300th of a second. How real is that?! Mother nature indeed gives more than we can fathom.   About the Writer: Bello Muhammad is a graduate of Biological Sciences. He is passionate about education and personal development. He is also a lover of chess who has featured in the West African University Games for his institution. You can contact him via Google+ and email:, phone 08152501891 and Twitter @Slimanic.  

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This article was first published on 22nd July 2015

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