What is a honey bee?

Honey bee at work

A honey bee is an insect and has a body in three parts: head, thorax and an abdomen. It has three pairs of jointed legs, feelers or antennae and usually two pairs of wings.  It also has a hard skeleton that is on the outside of its body (with holes for breathing); a small size (0.02 cm to 1.5 cm in length) which allows it to reproduce easily; it will hatch from an egg; it will undergo metamorphasis as it grows (the insect's body changes from an adult form through a major change in its body tissues).

Here's some interesting facts that you probably didn't know about honey bees. But firstly, remember they are vital for the future survival of the human race so treat them with respect and allow these wonderful pollinators to go about their business.

  1. Honey bees have 5 eyes and can see ultra violet light.
  2. They use the sun and other landmarks to find their way.
  3. They can dance to show other bees where to find food.
  4. They have special baskets made of stiff, curving hairs on their back legs, to carry pollen back to the hive.
  5. Honey bees sting to defend themselves - but the poor bees die after stinging. However male bees (known as 'drones') don't sting and queen bees only ever sting rival queens bees. 
  6. All the worker bees are females. The workers drive the drones out of the hive to die before the end of the summer.
  7. Honey bees are social insects that live in colonies with other honey bees.  Each bee works in co-operation with others, for the good of the colony as a whole.
  8. They feed on flowers (nectar and pollen) and pollinate (fertilises) the flowers at the same time.
  9. Honey bees build honeycomb nests and makes honey.
  10. They survive the winter by eating stored honey and keeping warm with the other bees in their colony.

Remember to tell your friends about honey bees and the wonderful work they do for the planet.