Ed Golson Outdoor Education

Honey bee

Scientific Name: Apis mellifera

Order: Hymenoptera

Description: Honey bees are very important insects. They are commonly used by plants as ways to transfer pollen between flowers. Honey bees are also used by humans for their sweet honey. Honey bees are approximately half an inch long. They are covered with small hairs and are yellow and black in color. Honey bees are very social creatures. They live in large hives that can contain up to 20,000 bees. There are three different groups of bees in each hive: the queen, drones, and workers. There is only one queen per hive. It is her job to lay eggs. Drones are male bees whose only job is to mate with the queen. There can be up to 500 drones per hive. All the rest of the bees are female workers. It is their job to feed the queen, tend the young bees, clean the hive, and protect the hive from invaders.

Habitat: Honey bees were originally found only in Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia. They were brought here by European settlers and are now found from southern Canada down into all of South America. Today few honey bees are found in the wild. Most are found on honey farms. Honey bees in the wild get sick easily and don't have protection from the farmer's sprays.

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