Did you know there are 20,000 species of bees and wasps? Seven of those species are honey bees. Honey bees live in groups in a hive. There are on average 60,000 bees in a hive and three different types of bees in a hive. There is only one queen bee. Her job is to lay eggs. There are several drone (male) bees, and their job is to fertilize the queen’s eggs so new bees will be born. The third kind of bee, and the most numerous, is the worker bee. Each one only produces a few drops of honey in their lifetime. How many bees do you think it takes to make a jar of honey? All of the worker bees are female and they are in charge of building the comb, cleaning the hive, taking care of the babies, collecting pollen and nectar, feeding the queen, cleaning the queen, protecting the hive, and telling others where to find food.
Honey bees have a long tongue, called a proboscis. This helps them reach down flowers to collect nectar. They also have pollen baskets on their body in which to store pollen. They bring the pollen and nectar back to the hive. The pollen is stored in cells and eaten for protein. The nectar is mixed with enzymes in the bee’s mouth in order to make honey, and it’s taken back to the hive. In the hive there is honeycomb made of beeswax. There are little cells in the beeswax where eggs are laid, pollen is stored, and honey is also stored.
Honey bees are very important pollinators. Flowers need to be pollinated in order to make fruit. If bees didn’t pollinate, we wouldn’t have most fruits and vegetables. The amount of bees in the world is going down every day. Pesticides and pollution are the two major causes for bee decline. What do you think you can do to help save the bees?