Western Honey Bee

Western Honey Bee, also known as European honey bee.
Apis mellifera

The European bee is a social bee, of European origin, which is 12 mm to 13 mm long and has a head and thorax in dark brown, or reddish, tones and a dark brown abdomen with yellow transverse bands. A diurnal specie, the European bee looks for food during the day, but maintains continuous activity within the hive.

This bee, common in the West, originates from Asia and Europe and was introduced to the American continent by the English and Spanish. It lives in permanent colonies, conducted by a “queen”. Bees live in hives, which can be artificial or natural. Inside, bees use wax to build combs (made up of cells in the shape of hexagonal prisms), where they store honey and pollen to feed both larvae and adult specimens. The queen is exclusively in charge of laying eggs: around 3,000 per day. When the hive needs a fertile female, the bees build a larger cell, where the fertilized eggs are deposited.

Every year, each colony releases one or more swarms, always containing a queen who settles elsewhere, with an abundance of flowers, where she founds a new colony. This is how the species spreads. When a bee finds a place rich in food and wants to transmit this information to the rest of the bees in the colony, it starts a “dance” where it draws the number 8 during the flight. Bees have an important function in nature: transporting pollen to originate new plants. For humans, they produce important foods. In addition to honey, they are also responsible for propolis, pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, among other products. They have a model of social organization in which each bee has its own specific function, which is always carried out for the benefit of the well-being of the community. There are three classes: queen bees, drones and workers.

According to the United Nations (UN), 90% of wildflower crops depend on bee-led pollination, as do 75% of food crops consumed by people and 35% of the world's arable land. The various species of bees, in general, are currently considered to be at risk of extinction due to human action. The large-scale requalification of land use, the monoculture practiced by industrialized agriculture and the use of pesticides are the most determining factors. However, the effects caused by global warming and the invasive species, such as the Asian wasp, must also be considered.

The UN decided to pay tribute to bees, proclaiming May 20th as the World Bee Day.




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