Bees' Sticky Hair Is More Than a Joke — It Helps Them Do Their Jobs


Oct. 13 2023, Updated 11:11 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • The joke about bees having sticky hair may make kids laugh, but doesn't reveal the facts about bees.
  • Bees' sticky hair is a result of electromagnetic properties.
  • The stickiness of bees' hair helps them to find flowers and pollen, detect danger, regulate body temperature, and more.
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Have you ever heard the silly joke "Why do bees have sticky hair?"

Don't worry, we'll get to the punch line in a little bit. But you might be surprised to learn that bees really do have sticky hair — and it enables the insects to make honey, among other amazing things.

Assisting bees in collection of pollen is just one of the important reasons for bees' sticky hair. The sticky hair helps bees to feel and sense things, and it's vital to their survival. Since bees are essential to humanity's survival, let's dive into all of the important jobs bees can do thanks to their sticky hair!

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Why do bees have sticky hair?

There's the scientific explanation of why bees have sticky hair: bee hair has electromagnetic properties that give it a sticky quality, per Buzz About Bees. That enables bees to do all sorts of things, like hold onto pollen. Foraging bees usually have a net positive electric charge, and that attracts pollen, which has a negative electric charge.

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Other reasons for why bees have sticky hair are factors that are crucial to their survival. The Royal Society Publishing explains that bee hairs can aid in thermal insulation (in other words, keeping them warm). The hair is also a major reason why pollen sticks to them when they return to the hive.

A-Z Animals offers other practical reasons for bees' sticky hair. The hair on bees helps them detect wind currents, which is important in analyzing their surroundings, as it alerts them to the location of flowers and therefore pollen. It also helps in detecting pheromones, or chemicals that let bees know if they're in other bees' territory.

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Sensing danger is another feature of bees' sticky hair, says A-Z Animals. Their hair is sensitive enough to pick up vibrations in the air that could indicate danger nearby, and help them prepare to protect the hive.

Sticky hair also aids bees in regulating their body temperature and keeping the hive warm.

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"Why do bees have sticky hair?" is also a corny joke.

Now, let's get to the fun side of the question, "Why do bees have sticky hair?" It's an oft-repeated "dad joke" with a pun for an answer. If you want to make a young person — or someone who's young at heart — crack up, just share this joke.

Q: Why do bees have sticky hair?

A: Because they use honeycombs!

Yes, it's cheesy and might cause more of a groan than a laugh. But next time you hear or tell this joke, be sure to remember the very real reasons for bees' sticky hair. They're incredible creatures, and if we allow them to go extinct, the consequences for humanity would be catastrophic.

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