Our Friends the Honey Bees Brought to you by the Which one is a honey bee? Identification Why are honey bees important? • They pollinate flowers that lead to the production of fruits and vegetables. • About 1 mouthful of every 3 bites we eat is food that honeybees have helped to produce – not counting honey! Honey bees… produce honey & beeswax gather pollen & propolis Wasps and bumble bees are important to the environment! • Wasps and bumble bees provide pollination. • Wasps provide insect control. Beekeepers • Beekeepers keep honeybees in bee hives; a bee hive gives the bees a place to live. Beehives have ~50,000 bees Workers, Drones, & Queen Worker Bees (females) • gather nectar from flowers with their tongues. • collect nectar to make honey and pollen to feed baby bees. • carry pollen in baskets on their rear legs. • can and do sting when threatened. Short Life of the Worker Bee Drones (males) • Drones do no work within the hive. As a result, they get “kicked out” of hive in the autumn. • Drones have no stinger and cannot sting. Queen • The queen bee lays eggs, as many as 2,000 eggs per day during the spring. • A beehive will have only one queen. Honey Bees are Our Friends • While honey bees will sting, they do so only to protect their hives and themselves. • Beekeepers who know what they are doing rarely get stung by bees even when opening a hive! Some beekeepers even “grow” bee beards!