Honey Bee

Apis mellifera

The honey bee is a colonial insect that is often maintained, fed, and transported by farmers. Of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees, four are considered honey bees: Apis florea, Apis dorsata, Apis cerana, and Apis mellifera (Western honeybee). They have been domesti-cated at least since the time of the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Honeybees store honey (which is made from nectar) in their hives, which provides the energy for flight muscles and for heating during the winter period, and pollen which supplies protein for bee brood to grow. Through centuries of selective breeding, honeybees can produce far more honey than the colony needs. Beekeepers, harvest the honey and supply sugar for the winter. Honeybees will sting when they perceive the hive to be threatened. While foraging for nectar or pollen a honey bee will rarely sting.