Kinds of Bees
Bees live everywhere in the world except on high mountains, in the Arctic and Antarctic, and on some small islands in the ocean.
Some bees are as small as 2 millimeters. Some bees are as big as 4 centimeters. Bees come in many colors like, black, gray, yellow, red, green, or blue.
Fun Fact: Most bees live alone. They are called solitary bees. Some bees live in groups called colonies. They are social bees.
Body of A Bee
Bees are insects, that means they have three pairs of legs and four wings. Like all insects, they have a head, chest, and abdomen. They have mouth parts and a tongue for collecting nectar. They carry nectar in an organ called a honey stomach.
Fun Fact: A bee has special wings that let it fly like a helicopter. Bees can fly backward, forward, sideways, or stay in one place in the air.
Life of A Bee
Bees reproduce sexually. A male bee mates with a female bee. Female bees lay eggs in nests made of small cells. They lay one egg in each cell. They put pollen and nectar in the cell for food. A bee’s life has several stages.
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A larva hatches out of the egg. The larva looks a little like a worm. The larva becomes a pupa covered by a hard case. The pupa becomes an adult bee and breaks out of the case.
Fun Fact: Bees have three regular eyes and two compound eyes. A compound eye has many lenses. Bees can see colors and patterns. This helps them find flowers.
Honey bees are social insects that make honey. They live in hives, or nests, made of wax. Honey bees are the best-known kind of bee. Beekeepers raise honey bees for honey and for pollinating farm crops.
Fun Fact: There are about 20,000 species of bees.
Three types of honey-making bees live in each hive—queen, workers, and drones. Each type of bee has a special job.
- The queen is a female that lays all the eggs. There is only one queen for each hive.
- Worker bees are females that do not lay eggs. Each nest has thousands of worker bees. Workers build the nest from wax they make in their bodies. The nest has many cells with six sides. The cells are glued together to make a comb. The queen lays eggs in some cells. Workers fill other combs with honey.
- Workers collect nectar and pollen, make honey, and make a food called royal jelly to feed the larvae. Workers guard the hive. They sting anything that threatens the hive.
Fun Fact: A worker bee can only sting once. It leaves the stinger in its victim. Then the bee dies.
- Drones are male bees. Drones cannot collect nectar or pollen. Drones do not have stingers. The only job of a drone is to mate with a queen.
The queen decides which eggs will become queens, workers, or drones. Only eggs fertilized with sperm become females. A few fertilized eggs are put in special cells and fed lots of royal jelly. These eggs become the queens.
Fun Fact: When a honey bee finds food, it tells other honey bees. The bee comes back to the hive with nectar. It then performs a dance. The bee’s movements tell the other bees where to look for this nectar.
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