HONEY BEE

Bug Index

              
         

 Assassin Bug

Bigeyed Bug

Boreal Firefly

Bumblebee

Damselfly

Dragonfly

Giant Diving Beetle

Giant Stoneflies

Giant Water Bug

Ground Beetles

Honey Bee

Lacewings

Ladybird Beetle

Mealybug-Destroyers 

Millipede

Pirate Bugs

Praying Mantid

Predatory Mites

Rove Beetles

Sowbug

Syphid Fly

Tachnid Fly

Yellow Jacket

Bees eat the nectar from flowers (a sweet liquid made by flowers) which they turn into honey. In the process of going from flower to flower to collect nectar, pollen from many plants gets stuck on the bee's pollen baskets (hairs on the hind legs). The pollen is then  rubbed off when the bees fly to anther flower, and the new flower is pollinated (fertilized so it will  produce seeds). Honey bees are an important pollinator of many plants. 

Bees live in hives. All the members of a hive are related to each other. There are three types of honey bees:

  • the queen (who lays eggs)

  • workers - females who gather food, make honey, build the six-sided honeycomb, tend eggs, and guard the hive

  • drones - males who mate with the queen.

Bees fly very quickly - about 15 miles per hour. Adult bees measure -inch long and are fuzzy, with gold and black stripes and transparent wings. Honey bees can often be identified by the balls of yellow pollen they carry on the backs of their legs. 

The oldest recorded Honeybee is said to have been over 45 million years old, incased in petrified amber and nearly unchanged from how it looks today. This means that the honeybee could go back as far as 200 million years. If that is the case, then our happy little flying pollination machine is one of the few remaining creatures that actually lived in the time of the dinosaur. Without the Honeybee, we too would die off. Without crop pollination, the animals we eat, the fruit and vegetables we consume and the trees we get our air from would all disappear. 

Honey bees are not native to the Americas. During the
1600's, settlers brought honey bee colonies with them from Europe, hence the name European honey bees. Today, honey bees are commonly seen visiting flowers to gather nectar needed to produce the sweet food product, honey, that is associated with this insect. In the process of visiting blossoms, honey bees pollinate cultivated crops valued at $30 billion annually.  Additionally, honey bees play an important role in pollinating plants that are necessary for wildlife.

Bees have numerous predators, including humans, that take the honey, pollen, and beeswax that the colony produces for its survival. Consequently, honey bees have developed effective colony defense strategies. If unprovoked, honey bees rarely use their stingers; but if they do sting, they only do it once and die soon afterwards. 

A bee sting will cause intense pain, get red and swell. This is a normal reaction and does not, in itself, indicate a serious allergic response. With time, many beekeepers no longer redden or swell when they are stung (however, it still hurts!). An extremely small fraction of the human population is genuinely allergic to bee stings. 

Pollination Map for Honey Bees in the United States