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Bee Part Of It: Take the bee quiz

Bee Part Of It, on-air and online, with the BBC's local services across the UK from Monday, 17 May 2010 and help to support the UK's bees.

Test your knowledge of bees in our bee quiz.

Bee Part Of It: Keeping the bees buzzing

Bees are the number one insect pollinator on the planet but they are in serious decline. They are reported to be worth around £200m to British agriculture due to the vital role they play in the pollination of our food crops, but the bee-friendly habitats that sustain the species are decreasing.

Honeybees by Ben Rushbrook, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Bee Part Of It: Keeping the bees buzzing

Test your bee knowledge and be part of the BBC's Local Radio project to create bee-friendly spaces across the United Kingdom to help stop their decline. Our thanks to The Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust with the compilation of this quiz.

Buff-tailed bumblebee

1.) Bee Part Of It

Bees make a vital contribution to our environment, but how many species of native bee can be found in the UK?

Honey bee on a flower
  1. More than 50
  2. More than 150
  3. More than 250

2.) Bee Part Of It

Which species of bumblebee, last recorded in the UK in 1988, is now being re-introduced in Kent?

Bumblebee in flight
  1. Short-haired bumblebee
  2. Field cuckoo bumblebee
  3. Buff-tailed bumblebee

3.) Bee Part Of It

Which of the following IS NOT used as a nesting place by a native bee species?

Bumblebee collects nectar on lavender
  1. Old mouse nest
  2. Old tin can
  3. Empty snail shell

4.) Bee Part Of It

Which of the following phrases best describes both honeybees and bumblebees?

Honeybees feeding (Photo: Crown copyright, National Bee Unit)
  1. Solitary bees
  2. Social bees
  3. Asbo bees

5.) Bee Part Of It

Of the bumblebees that remain common in our gardens, what do they depend upon to feed from their preferred plants?

Bumblebee collects pollen on a sunflower
  1. The length of their tongue
  2. The length of their legs
  3. The span of their wings

6.) Bee Part Of It

How well do you know your bees? Which of the following statements IS NOT true?

Honeybee feeding
  1. All adult bees feed on nectar
  2. All bees sting and then die
  3. Only one UK bee species is used by humans to make honey

7.) Bee Part Of It

How many bumblebee species are so threatened that they have been highlighted under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan?

Bumblebee in flight
  1. 3 out of 24
  2. 5 out of 24
  3. 7 out of 24

8.) Bee Part Of It

How much honey, suitable for extraction, can a single hive of busy honeybees produce in a good season?

Bees on honeycomb
  1. 15lb (7kg)
  2. 40lb (18kg)
  3. 60lb (27kg)

9.) Bee Part Of It

What is the name of bees that lay their eggs and breed in other bees nests?

A female red-tailed cuckoo on knapweed, by Nick Owens
  1. Mining bees
  2. Cuckoo bees
  3. Honeybees

10.) Bee Part Of It

And finally, one for the foodies. How much honey does a single honeybee produce in her lifetime?

Jar of honey
  1. 1/12th of a teaspoon
  2. 1 teaspoon
  3. 12 teaspoons


  1. There are more than 250 native bee species in the UK. One is the domesticated honeybee, there are 24 species of bumblebee and the rest are known as solitary bees. Many bee species are limited to particular habitats or even types of wildflower.
  2. The short-haired bumblebee, Bombus subterraneus, is a "keystone species" and pollinates around 80% of important crops. The bees will be reintroduced to the UK from New Zealand.
  3. A large number of species dig burrows in patches of bare ground. Some bumblebees like to nest in old mouse burrows and the red and black species Osmia bicolor makes its nest in old snail shells on grassland.
  4. Honeybees and bumblebees are both social bees, but most species are solitary. They do not have workers, so the egg laying female also builds the nest and collects the pollen on which the larvae will feed.
  5. Long-tongued species of bumblebee will feed on long, tubular flowers, whereas short-tongued bees need wide, open flowers. However, some bees cheat and bite holes through the base of the petals to steal the nectar.
  6. It is only the worker honeybee that dies after stinging. The size of a honeybee colony means that individual workers can be sacrificed to defend the nest.
  7. Bumblebees have undergone major decline in recent years, thought by researchers to be related to the loss of flower-rich habitats in the countryside.
  8. If you have a good weather season with lots of sunny days a hive can produce more than 60lb of honey, but the average hive will produce around 25lb of honey that is surplus to the colony's requirement to see them through the winter.
  9. Cuckoo bumblebees invade social bumblebee nests and lay their eggs in the nest which the workers unwittingly care for as their own - much like a cuckoo bird.
  10. A single honeybee will make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. According to the British Beekeepers' Association, a number of bees must fly about 55,000 miles in total to make 1lb (0.45kg) of honey, that's equivalent to 2.2 times around the world!

Bee Part Of It: Your Score

0 - 4 : Stop droning on about your bee knowledge

5 - 7 : A worker bee-like performance, but room to improve

8 - 10 : Well done, you're the queen bee in this quiz

The majority of the UK's 250 bee species appear to be in decline.

This loss of bees has serious consequences for crop pollination, so Bee Part Of It will be helping all of our bees by creating 40,000 new bee-friendly wildflower rich spaces.

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