Forget the Avengers. Bees Are the Real Superheroes

What superpower would you choose, if you had the option? The power of flight? Invisibility? Super strength? The power to shoot webs and swing around like Spiderman? Those all sound pretty great, but if you ask us, we’d choose bee powers.

Yep, bee powers.      

Bees are the buzzing superheroes of the insect kingdom. Don’t believe us? Check out these 10 incredible superpowers wielded by the humble bee…    

They have Magneto powers… over pollen.      

You know how metallic objects seemingly defy gravity when they leap onto magnets? Well, bees do the exact same thing, except with pollen. Pollen literally leaps onto it when a bee gets close enough. This is because pollen has a positive charge, while the bee body has a strong negative static charge built up from the vigorous flapping of its wings. And as we all learned in 6th grade science, negative charges attract positive charges. This means that all a bee has to do is land on a flower, and the pollen comes to them. Watch out pollen, here comes… The Pollinator.                   

Bees are buzzing Baryshnikovs.

Bees actually communicate through a sophisticated and intricate dance–a waggle dance, to be precise. For instance, when scout bees do a circular dance along the honeycomb wall, it means that food is nearby. A figure-eight dance means that food is farther away. Distance of the food is demonstrated by the length of the dance; quality is demonstrated by how vigorously it waggles; and direction is demonstrated by the complex angle of the dance. Using this mind-blowing movement language, bees are able to reach the food source with an error margin of about 15 feet. Not too shabby!       

Move over Dr. Alchemy. Bees are nature’s alchemists.

Bees eat plant stuff and excrete liquid gold–what a superpower! And honey is not just gold in color, it’s gold in medicinal richness. Not only is it antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal, but raw honey has even been shown to have cancer-fighting potential. No other insect creates a product so beneficial.               

And the bee alchemy doesn’t just end with honey. Propolis boosts the immune system and fights off colds and flus. Royal jelly is a brain superfood. And if you want to reap the benefits of a little bit of everything, we’ve combined all of these amazing bee products into our Bee Powered–although on second thought, maybe we should rename it Bee Superpowered.      

They have Superman-like strength and endurance…

Okay, they’re no match for Superman, but on average, a bee is able to carry 71 times its own weight. Even more impressive, while airborne, it can even carry up to its own weight in pollen and nectar (albeit clumsily). Bees are also more fuel efficient than any hybrid. According to one Canadian scientist who wanted to estimate a bee’s mileage per gallon, one gallon of honey will fuel a bee to fly over 4.7 million miles! And on tiny 1 tankful (ahem, bellyful), a bee can easily travel 40 miles. Elon Musk might want to take note.           

… and super vision.     

Bees have the ability to see ultraviolet light, meaning they can see colors we cannot even fathom. This helps them find food, since many flowers have ultraviolet bull’s-eyes highlighting where the pollen and nectar lives.         

But that’s not all. A bee can find its way home from up to 8 miles away, using the earth’s electromagnetic field and the sun as a compass. That’s because there is magnetite, an actively magnetic mineral, present in the bee’s abdomen. This allows bees to tune into the earth’s electromagnetic field for navigation and positioning, Magneto-style. And when it’s cloudy, bees have special photoreceptors in their eyes to detect polarized light in order to determine the sun’s location in the sky. Interestingly, Vikings may have used a similar navigational system using special sun stones. 

Bees can literally change their brain chemistry.

We all know that bees take on certain roles within the hive. There are soldier bees, undertaker bees, scout bees, et cetera. No matter the job, each bee’s brain is wired for the job it has. But, when a bee changes jobs, the bee actually alters its brain chemistry so as to prioritize the skills needed for that job.         

In specific circumstances, a bee can also reverse the age of its brain. If a bee takes on a job often reserved for younger bees, its brain actually becomes biologically younger. It’s not sci-fi, it’s bees.      

These insects are math whizzes, à la Tony Stark.

Not only can bees count to 4 and remember numbers (which is really impressive for any animal), they can instinctually solve complex mathematical problems. Namely, bees rock the ‘traveling salesman problem’, a practice in determining the shortest and most efficient route between multiple points. They are the only animal that is able to do this. Even more unbelievable, some scientists even claim that bees are unwitting experts in quantum mechanics!         

Their honeycombs are also constructed with mathematical precision, using precise 120 degree angles to form perfect hexagons. Mathematicians have long praised honeycomb structure as one of the most practical, supportive, and economical structures possible. Mathematician Thomas Hales even wrote a 19 page proof called ‘The Honeycomb Conjecture’ to demonstrate this fact.        

Bees can control their body temperature, like “Iceman” Wim Hof.     

Bees can disengage their wings and flex work their wing muscles to create heat energy. In order to takeoff for high-speed flying, bees have to warm their muscles up to 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. They will form a ball, or a swarm, and all flex their muscles together to raise their collective internal temperatures. What’s even more impressive, once the bees on the surface of the swarm (the coolest area) reach 95 degrees, the swarm takes off within seconds. Scientists still don’t fully understand how the bees collectively know when everyone has reached temperature. Call it hivemind.              

Like any true superhero, bees are super intelligent.

Most insects aren’t what humans would consider intelligent. But bees aren’t the drones you think they are. Evidence has shown that bees actually have different personalities and emotions. Some are thrill-seekers while others are home-bodies, just like us. According to research, bees can even become pessimistic, which suggests that they actually experience a range of emotions.

As for their brains, they are densely packed with gray matter, which is a sign of evolved intelligence.        

Suffice to say, bees are not mindless stinging drones. They are capable, sophisticated forces of nature with extraordinary powers, especially considering their size. So forget about Ant-Man. Maybe it’s time for Marvel or DC to add a new buzzing superhero to their lineup.

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