- The bee is an insect related to ants.
- Bees are a group of stinging hairy insects.
- They have a sting in the tail.
- They use these to defend themselves and their homes.
- Bees have special glands attached to the stinger, which produce venom.
- Queen bees have smooth, curved stingers, workers have straight, hooked stingers and males do not have stingers.
- A bee sting can cause pain and swelling.
- They play a crucial role in the pollination of flowers.
Where do they live?
- Bees are found everywhere in the world except the Polar Regions.
- There are about 20,000 species of bees in the world, divided into social and solitary bees.
- Bees depend on flowers for their food.
- Most bees are solitary, but honeybees and bumblebees are social.
- Honeybees are the only bees that produce honey and wax.
- Social bees live in a hive which is a big colony consisting of a queen, drones (males) and workers (sterile females).
- There are many types of bees including honey bees, carpenter bees, digger bees and mining bees.
- Honeybees are black or brown with bodies thickly covered in fine hairs, which pick up pollen grains when the bees fly from flower to flower and thus, help in pollination.
- Among the honey bees, the queen bee’s job is just to lay eggs and not to do anything else. A queen bee lays some 1,500eggs per day and about 25,000 in a season.
- The fertilized eggs develop into either queens or workers. The unfertilized eggs develop into either drones. There can be only one queen in a hive.
- The first new queen that comes out of a fertilized egg kills all of her sister queens in their cells and thus becomes the sovereign queen and mother.
The worker bees collect pollen and nectar and produce honey and wax. They also help in cross pollination of crops and plants.
Solitary bees live alone, but sometimes, thousands of them build their homes close together. There are no worker bees and every female solitary bee is a queen. She makes her nest and stores nectar and pollen in it. She lays an egg in each cell with the pollen and then seals it and flies away.
Carpenter bees, leaf cutting bees, mason bee, mining bees, and cuckoo bees are several examples of solitary bees.
Many animals such as bears, ants, and honeybadgers are enemies of bees, destroying hives in the search for honey. Honeybee mites attack and eat young honeybees, while birds such as the honey buzzard and bee eater eat the adults.
The mason bee is the largest bee at about 4 centimetres long. The giant honeybee is the largest honeybee and is twenty millimetres long.