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Insect Identification

Honey Bee - (Apis mellifera)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/21/2014

The helpful Honeybee is a mainstay in the world of agriculture and an icon of efficiency for many businesses.

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Honey Bee occupations break down into one of three categories: the worker bees, the drones and the Queen Bee. Unlike wasps, they create hives out of wax (not a paper-like substance) and only swarm when they are reproducing. The old queen leaves with a portion of the hive while those that stay behind will work with a new queen born in the hive. A female larvae is fed a special diet by the workers, which makes her a fertile queen. Other female larvae are given a regular diet that renders them infertile.

Worker bees are sterile females that measure between 9 and 18mm while a queen bee can be 18 to 20mm in length. Male drones lack stingers and are kept until reproduction is complete. They are then killed and removed from the hive.

Working bees feature a nearly all-black head with a body coloring of golden brown and black with patches of a dull orange. Yellow bands are easily distinguishable on the abdomen and wings are clear. Their entire bodies are covered in tiny hairs with these being most notable on the head an body.

They are found throughout the United States and are also bred commercially. Currently, honey bee populations are disappearing from commercial hives for unknown reasons. Entomologists call this anomaly CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder. Honey bees are a super-pollinator for most fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption and a limited number of them can directly effect how much produce is harvested.

They originally came to the New World from Europe when early colonists came to settle in America. They have since expanded their range to cover the entire continent.

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Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common name: Honey Bee
Scientific Name: Apis mellifera

Taxonomy:
  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Hymenoptera
      Family: Apidae
       Genus: Apis
        Species: mellifera

Adult Size (Length): 9mm to 20mm (0.35in to 0.79in) COMPARE

Identifying Colors: red, brown, black, orange, yellow

General Description: striped, fuzzy, buzz


North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico


* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.


NOTE: Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...). Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Email corrections / Comments to InsectIdentification at Gmail dot com.
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