Learn about a Bee



Insects have three body regions: the head, thorax and abdomen.

The bee has two compound eyes and three simple eyes, all located on the head. The honey bee head is triangular when seen from the front. The two antennae are close together near the center of the face.

The honey bee uses its proboscis, a long, slender, hairy tongue that acts as a straw, to feed on liquids and its mandibles, the parts of the mouth used to hold and bite food, is used to eat pollen and make wax soft enough to to build their combs where the eggs are.

The sting is found in a chamber at the end of the abdomen The shaft is a hollow tube, like a hypodermic needle. The tip is barbed, like a porcupine quill so that it sticks in the skin of the victim and is very hard to remove.


Bee Facts: Bees can only see certain colors, including yellow, blue-green, blue, violet, ultraviolet, and also a color known as "bee's purple," a mixture of yellow and ultraviolet. Bees can not see red. Honey bees rely on their sense of vision to locate flowers.

A swarm is merely a honey bee colony in search of a nesting site. A swarm has a queen bee along with worker bees. Swarming bees are not normally aggressive.



Worker bees collect both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony. Nectar is the sweet fluid made by flowers to attract bees and other insects, birds and mammals. Worker bees drink the nectar and store it in a pouch-like structure called the crop. They fly back to the hive and regurgitate the nectar to other "house bees."

Honey bees mix the pollen with some nectar to form a mixture called beebread that is a protein-rich food used to feed the larvae.

In addition to food, honey bees gather water for use in cooling the inside of the nest on hot days. They also use water to dilute the honey when they feed it to the larvae.



Flower hopping and dancing in the sun are terms used when the worker bees travel from flower to flower in search of nectar. As they enter a flower they often get covered with pollen, as well as collect it on their legs. When they travel to another flower (often of the same species) some of the pollen falls off the bee and lands on the plant pollinating the plant so it can produce more plants.

Bee dancing is well known - the workers do a circular dance in a particular direction according to the position of the sun. The extent and direction of the dance tells other workers the direction and distance to the nectar source.



Bees live in colonies. They start a colony in a hollow tree or roof space. They are kept in hives by beekeepers. Bees like to be under dry moss and in wooded areas. They like to spend the cold months sleeping. The honeybee eats nectar and pollen. They love sweets!


Life cycle:

Honey bees pass through four distinct life stages: the egg, larva, pupa and adult. The process is called complete metamorphosis, which means that the form of the bee changes drastically from the larva to the adult. Passing through the immature stages takes 21 days for worker bees. On the first day, the queen bee lays a single egg in each cell of the comb. The egg generally hatches into a larva on the fourth day. The larva is a legless grub that resembles a tiny white sausage. The larva is fed a mixture of pollen and nectar called beebread. On the ninth day the cell is capped with wax and the larva transforms into the pupa. The pupa is a physical transition stage between the amorphous larva and the hairy, winged adult. The pupa doesn't eat. On day 21, the new adult worker bee emerges.

The queen can live from 2-5 years. The drone lives 40-50 days. Drones are male bees. Most of the bees are workers.They are females. They work hard making honey and stinging for defense! They live from 1-4 months. The lifecycle of the worker bee: Egg (3 days), Larva (6 days), Pupa (12 days). This is a total of 21 days from egg (baby) to adult worker.



Check here for some pictures of the Honey Bee.



Helpful Facts:

Pollinators are responsible for one third of the food in grocery stores.Bees are very important because they pollinate fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Bees produce honey. Honey is the sweet and delicious substance that we spread on toast. They also produce wax. Have you ever seen a beeswax candle? Bees helped make that!

Linen and cotton which we make clothes from are crops pollinated by insects. Birds, toads, fish, and many other species of wildlife depend on insects for food.


 Harmful Facts:

Some people are allergic to the sting of bees.They can be a nuisance if they nest in traffic signals, in the wall of your house, or in public places.


Interesting Facts:

The honeybee is a most remarkable creature. She can carry a load of nectar close to half of her own weight

To fly around the world the honeybee would need to eat 30 grams of honey. That's approximately 2 teaspoons of honey.

Look through the eyes of a bee. This site lets you see the world through a bee's eye. Click on the various views to see what it really looks like then click on the view through a bee's eye. Compare what you see with a bee's sight.

Take this bee quiz to see how smart you are!

Click here to see a closeup movie of a bee eating. Watch the proboscis licking up the sweet sugar-water.