To Bee or Not to Bee: 15 UnBEElievable Facts About Bees!

Have you heard the BUZZ? It’s National Honeybee Day!

Step aside Beyoncé.

Here are 15 facts about the “OG Queen Bees”! 

1. All honeybees are bees but not all bees are honeybees! Honeybees are actually non-native to North America and were brought over in the 1600s from Europe.

2. Bees are found on every continent except Antarctica!

3. There are 25,000 named species of bees in the world, though it is likely that over 40,000 different species exist!

4. There are more than 750 species of bees distributed within the Sonoran Desert.

5. The region around Tucson, Arizona, is thought to host more kinds of bees than anywhere else in the world (with the possible exception of some deserts in Israel)!


Honey bee. Photo: Glenn Seplak

6. Of the approximately 640 flowering species (or taxa) growing in the Tucson Mountains near the Desert Museum, approximately 80% of these species have flowers adapted for and pollinated by bees.

7. At least 30% of our agricultural crops require bees to move pollen between flowers.

8. Without bees, there would be few or no fleshy berries or fruits to sustain birds,    mammals, and other wildlife.

9. By moving pollen around from flower to flower and plant to plant, bees perform vital and often unappreciated roles as the most important group of pollinating animals on earth!

10. Only FEMALE bees sting. 

bee_tongueSweat bee. Photo: Glenn Seplak

11. Only certain species of bees (most commonly, the honeybee) die after the first sting, all other bees are able to sting multiple times (but this rarely happens, only when a bee is defending itself!).

12. Contrary to popular belief AND Winnie the Pooh, the most common place for a    bee to live is in a hole in the ground!

13. Bees do not perceive red colors as well as other colors. Due to this, flowers that need bees to pollinate them are  usually shades of purple, yellow, or orange. 

14. Honeybees are incredible flyers with the ability to fly around 15.5 miles an hour and beat their wings 200 times per second! (In comparison, the hummingbird, the bird with the fastest wing beats, beats its wings 70 times per second!)

15. The world’s smallest known bee, Perdita minima, which is less than .08 inches (2 mm) lives in the Sonoran Desert! 

Perdita minima_Twitter_beesinyourbackyard

Perdita minima. Photo/ Twitter: @BeesInYourBackyard


Written by: Lauren Nichols, ASDM Media & Marketing Specialist 

  1. Buchmann, Stephen L. “Bees.” Bees,
  2. Wilson, Joseph S., and Olivia Messinger Carril. Bees in Your Backyard: a Guide to North America’s Bees. Princeton University Press, 2016.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent work, Lauren. I hope you are settling in well and enjoying working here. All the best. Steve Johnston


    1. desertmuseum says:

      Thanks so much Steve!


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