Honeybees are a unique lineage of bee and some of the only ones to produce, store and eat honey. Bees produce honey by processing nectar and other flower-derived substances. Honey is stored in the hive in structures called combs. Scientists classify all seven species of honeybee in the genus Apis, which is where the term "apiculturist," or beekeeper, comes from.Continue Reading
Honeybees have a venomous barbed stinger that can deliver a painful sting to predators or perceived threats. Unlike wasps and other stinging insects, honeybees can only sting once. When the stinger pierces the skin of a predator, it pulls free of the insect’s body and rips out some of the bee’s internal organs, which kills it.
Some honeybees are hybrids between European honeybees and African species. Often called "Africanized" or "killer" honeybees, these hybrids are more aggressive than European species and produce less excess honey for human consumption. In some areas, these bees have become pests, as they tend to outcompete other, more beneficial honeybee species.
Honeybees are very important for modern agriculture, as they are the pollinators for many fruiting trees and plants. Unfortunately, honeybees are susceptible to colony collapse disorder, which has drastically reduced the worldwide population of the beneficial insects.Learn more about Stinging Insects