Bees are an essential component of the rich web of life on earth. Along with many other insects, they are essential for the pollination of plants that provide food for other animals including humans. They also produce delicious honey – which is collected thanks to the skills of beekeepers all over the world. Not all bees are the same though – there are between 16,000 and 20,000 species of bee! All bees, however, have a basic body shape. The body is divided into a head, a thorax and an abdomen. They have four translucent wings and six legs which they use to build structures, dig or carry pollen, depending on their lifestyle. Each bee has two compound eyes which are huge compared to the size of their bodies. The patterns and colors on their bodies are highly variable.
All About Honey Bees
There are only eight recognized species of honey bees (including the giant honey bee and the Himalayan honey bee) and they are all endangered. Populations have been declining for decades and the reasons for this are not yet clearly understood. In the wild, they live in sheltered forests and meadows but humans provide hives for them so that we can collect their honey for our own use. In this short vid we see an inventive beekeeper use a variety of household objects to defend his hives. His precision in yielding chopsticks and scissors is insane!
Honey bees have one of the most complex social arrangements in the animal kingdom based on a caste system. It is thought that they can communicate with each other using a complex dance.
The Threat of Hornets to Bees
On the face of it, hornets look similar to bees but there are important differences. Hornets have a longer and more slender body and hang their legs down during flight. They are much more aggressive than honey bees and more likely to sting a human. The sting itself is also much more painful.
Hornets are scavengers and feed on leftover food and decaying fruit. They also feed on other insects and sadly that includes honey bees. This is why the beekeeper was going to such lengths to protect his hives. The Asian giant hornet has huge jaws that can decapitate bees and they could wipe out an entire hive in hours. Hopefully, the bees in this vid were safe thanks to their innovative beekeeper and his ‘weapons’!
Bee Lifespan: How Long Do Bees Live?
Mason Bee vs Honey Bee: What Are the Differences?
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