Bees are a part of the main eukaryotic groups of animals, including plants, fungi, protozoa, and certal phyla such as sponges. Bees are classified in the kingdom Animalia and class Insecta. They were one of the first insects to evolve from worm-like animals. Both males and females have four functioning thoracic legs called “tarsi,” which assist them in walking on three legs at a time. Also, both sexes have wings made up of forewings covering the body and hind wings covering the abdomen. The number of segmented appendages ranges from two to seven, depending on the bee species.
- Bees are tiny insects in the order of flies in the family of Hymenoptera.
- There are about 20,000 known species of bees worldwide.
- Bees range from 0.2 to 16 mm in size and are often brightly colored or metallic.
- Bees get their name from their sucking mouthparts resembling a human nose, which they use to gather nectar from blossoms. To collect honey, bees visit flowers for nectar then return to the hive to store the nectar in sealed clay cells or wax honeycombs.
- Bees are essential to pollinating many fruits, nuts, and vegetables by harvesting pollen and transporting it back to the hive for fertilization.
- Bee venom has antibiotic properties.
- The droning of bees is actually a dilation and contraction of their wing muscles as they warm-up and cool down. Bees can even make noise in temperature extremes; the bigger the temperature difference, the grumpier the bee. The higher-pitched buzzing and humming you hear are produced by larger bees (males), and lower-pitched droning is produced by worker bees who live in the hive year-round.
- Bees have numerous natural enemies, including ants, parasitic phorid flies, bee-eaters, birds, stinging wasps, dragonflies, robber flies, and spiders.
- In ancient Egypt, honey was used as part of the embalming process to preserve bodies for burial.