Honey Bee

Honey Bee swarm ©Margaret Holland

Honey Bee

Honey Bee ©Nick Upton/2020VISION

Honey Bee

Honey Bees ©Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Honey bee

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Scientific name: Apis mellifera
Honeybees have been making honey for humans for thousands of years! These easily recognisable little bees are hard workers, living in large hives made of wax honeycombs.

Top facts

Stats

Length: 1.2cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to September

About

Probably the best known bee, the honeybee has been making honey for humans for thousands of years. In the wild they live in wooded areas in large hives made of wax honeycombs. The queen lays eggs whilst the workers care for the young, almost like a giant bee nursery! Every year a new queen will either take the place of her mother, or she will leave to start a colony of her own.

What to look for

The familiar black-and-gold Honey bee is almost unmistakeable. There are several species of hoverfly that look similar, but they have much larger eyes.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

A single bee hive may contain as many as 50,000 individuals. In winter, the hive goes into survival mode: the drones are expelled, the workers huddle together to keep warm, and the larvae are fed on stores of pollen and honey. In spring, a new generation of bees emerges.