What is a honeybee?
Honeybees are flying insects, and close relatives of wasps and ants. They are found on every continent on earth, except for Antarctica. Bees of all varieties live on nectar and pollen. Without bees, pollination would be difficult and time consuming – it is estimated that one-third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination.
Bees have a long, straw-like tongue called a probiscus that allows them to drink the nectar from deep within blossoms. Bees are also equipped with two wings, two antennae, and three segmented body parts (the head, the thorax, and the abdomen).
Honeybees are social insects that live in colonies. The hive population consists of a single queen, a few hundred drones, and thousands of worker bees. The honeybees we know and love here at Honeybee Centre forage for nectar and pollen from flowering plants. They use the nectar collected to create our favourite sweet treat – honey!
When carrying the nectar back to the hive, their bodies break down the complex sucrose of the nectar into two simple sugars, fructose and glucose. Tucking it neatly into a honeycomb cell, the bees will then beat their wings furiously over top of this syrupy sweet liquid to fan out the moisture and thicken the substance. When it is complete, the bees will cap that cell with beeswax, sealing the perfected honey for consumption later on.
For more information about honey, check out our About Honey page.
Thanks to the Honeybee Centre for contributing this blog on honey bees.