European Honey Bee
Apis mellifera Linnaeus, the European honey bee, can be found in these regions independently. None of this animal’s twenty or so subspecies (sometimes called “races”) is indigenous to the Americas. However, western honey bee subspecies have been widely introduced outside their natural habitat due to economic incentives associated with pollination and honey production.
The average length of a European honey bee is between 0.5 and 1.9 centimetres. It usually appears in shades of black or brown with yellow streaks across its abdomen and flies using both wings. Fertile female bees (the queens) tend to get the biggest. Males, or drones, are shorter and stockier than females, and their eyes are much larger. Females of the species (worker bees) are petite and sterile, with barbed stingers and modified rear legs used to carry pollen.
Honeybees in Europe need a wide variety of flowering plants to thrive in their natural environment. “Natural spaces” can also refer to wooded or forest environments. As a result of their widespread domestication for honey production, honeybees are increasingly common sights in city parks and suburban backyards.
They cluster together in hives, and their homes can be found in places like tree hollows and cracks in rocks. As the human population grows, they may begin settling in the framework of buildings. The honey stored in the hive provides the bees with food when they cannot forage during the colder months.
Life Cycle and Reproduction
In the spring and summer, bees gather around their hives to mate. The only female bee in the colony, the queen bee, would fly over swarms of worker bees from her own and other hives to reach other hives. With her pheromones, she can entice passing drones, and she has even been known to mate in the air. The drones mate, then crash to the ground and perish within a few hours.
Male bees hatch from unfertilized eggs and female bees from fertilized ones. Larvae develop from eggs in about three days, with help from worker bees. Feeding female bees royal jelly during their larval stage increases the likelihood that they will mature into workers or a queen. In 15–24 days, depending on sex, larvae grow into adult bees. The average lifespan of a worker or drone bee is a few weeks to a few months, but the lifespan of a queen bee can reach five years.