Honey bee

The Honey bee (Apis mellifera) is one of the most recognisable and important of all insects. Most people are familiar with the products of honey bees specifically honey, beeswax and royal jelly.

However, Honey bees have an extremely important role in the pollination of crops. It is estimated that the pollination services provided by bees (not just Honey bees) in North America is worth approximately $14 billion. In the UK it was estimated that the value of the pollination services provided by Honey bees and Bumble bees was around £170 million for outdoor crops (fruit, oil seed rape etc.) and £30 million for greenhouse crops (tomatoes, peppers etc).

Despite this it is the production of honey that captures the imagination and it is easy to forget that it is regurgitated by the bees! A concentrated form of flower nectar stored by certain bees for their young, honey has been sought since earliest times. There is a 9000-year-old cave painting in Spain depicting the gathering of wild honey and beehives are illustrated on friezes in ancient Egyptian tombs.

A photograph of a worker honeybee (_Apis mellifera_)

A photograph of a worker honeybee (Apis mellifera)
Photograph by Ken Thomas.

Other names for (or types of) Honey bee include:

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