There are over 25,000 kinds of bees in the world. Of these, honeybees have a special importance to humans. Honeybees produce honey and pollinate hundreds of the plants that we use for food.
Honeybees pollinate almonds, apples, cherries, plums, pears, nectarines, peaches, apricots, kiwis and many other fruits we enjoy. Honeybees also pollinate watermelons, cucumbers, squash, carrots, and many of the vegetables that are part of a healthy diet. Pollinating helps the plants grow better and produce more.
Honeybees are social insects and work together to take care of their beehive home. Each beehive has between 30,000 and 80,000 honeybees. Some of the jobs include cleaning the hive, gathering nectar and pollen, and feeding the young bees. Honeybees also turn nectar into honey.
Most of the bees are worker bees, but there are also drones in the hive and one queen bee. Worker bees do many jobs in the hive. There are workers that take care of the queen. Other workers keep the hive clean and clear out cells so that the queen can lay eggs in them. Other workers visit plants to gather nectar and pollen for the hive.
Some workers receive the nectar and work as a team to turn it into honey. They store the honey in the cells and put a wax cap on top. Guard bees protect the entrance to the hive and sting intruders if they try to enter the hive.
Drone bees are males and do not have stingers. They have one job and that is to mate with the queen so that she can lay eggs. In the spring, there are many drones in the hive, but later in the year, there may be none. The worker bees drive the drones out of the hive when the drones aren’t needed to mate with the queen.
There is only one queen in each hive, and she has a very important job. She lays egg so that there will be new bees to do the jobs in the hive. A queen can lay between 1.000 and 3,000 eggs each day! Some of the worker bees take care of the queen. Their job is to feed the queen and protect her.