We have all eaten honey, and many people complement our diets by consuming helpful bee byproducts similar to bee pollen. Nevertheless, there are a number of totally different species of bees; which of them make honey, and what do other forms of bees do?
There are about 25,000 recognized species of bee worldwide (about 4,000 in the USA), all of that are categorized beneath the superfamily Apoidea. These are divided into 9 households, 4 of that are very small by way of numbers of species.
We’re most conversant in a single household of bee, Apidae, which incorporates honey and bumblebees. Honey bees, in fact, produce honey; these are social bees that dwell in colonies of fifty,000 to 60,000 staff, 300 drones, and often a single queen. Honey colonies are very advanced by way of habits and total perform; these bees behave for the survival of the colony, and never for particular person survival. There are ten broad forms of honey worldwide, and one hybrid selection, the Africanized bee, or “killer bee.” The European honey is mostly saved by beekeepers, for the aim of harvesting honey and bee byproducts.
Bumblebees are additionally from the household Apidae, however bumblebee colonies are a lot smaller than these of honey bees, typically internet hosting just a few hundred employee bees. Like honey, bumblebees are glorious pollinators of assorted flowers; their our bodies are fairly furry, trapping pollen simply because the bees transfer from flower to flower to eat. And bumblebees do in reality make honey, comparable in texture and style to honey from honey bees however greenish-golden in tint moderately than the pure golden coloration of standard honey. Bumblebees make comparatively small portions of honey — their colonies are so small — and it’s tough to reap, so bumblebee honey is often not discovered available on the market.
There are but extra members of the Apidae household, solitary moderately than colonizing. Digger bees often make their nests within the soil, rearing their younger in soil tunnels; their our bodies are bushy, and generally as much as 3 centimeters lengthy. Digger bees usually nest in shut proximity to one another, giving the looks of a colony, however every feminine is performing independently, defending and accumulating pollen for her younger. These bees are nonaggressive and won’t sting except they’re trapped in clothes. Carpenter bees, however, nest in outdated wooden; like digger bees, they’re solitary, however usually nest in shut proximity to one another.
Leafcutter bees and mason bees are members of the Megachilidae household; they’re solitary, with leafcutters making nests in hole plant stems and ready-made holes in wooden and mason bees nesting in outdated mortar and numerous crevices. With solitary bees, it’s the feminine that mates and rears her younger on her personal; as with social bees, the males serve no objective apart from to mate with fertile females. Many of those solitary bees are more and more being reared commercially for pollination functions, particularly as honey bee populations world wide are dwindling for as but unexplained causes.
Mining bees belong to the Andrenidae household; this household includes hundreds of species world wide. Additionally solitary, mining bees excavate tunnels and cells underground by which to rear their younger; their tunnels are sometimes seen as small mounds within the floor, akin to worm casts. A nest might include a principal tunnel with 5 – 6 branches every containing an egg cell. Mining bees choose sandy soil. They don’t trigger any injury to a backyard, and must be welcomed as efficient pollinators.
Bees of the Halictidae household are sometimes known as “sweat bees” as a result of they’re attracted by perspiration; females can provide a minor sting if trapped. These nest within the floor or in wooden, and they’re social, although their caste system differs from that of honey or bumblebees. And the Colletidae household includes plasterer bees, so known as as a result of they easy the partitions of their nest cells with secretions that dry right into a lining resembling cellophane. These are solitary bees, discovered principally in Australia and South America.
4 different bee households — Melittidae, Meganomiidae, Dasypodaidae, and Stenotritidae — are very small in variety of species; these uncommon are present in Africa or Australia.
Bees are rather more numerous in sort and habits than would at first seem. You might be most definitely to come across honey bees and bumblebees, however most all bees are efficient pollinators, and as such a worthwhile hyperlink in our world ecosystem.