Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila. There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants.
Bees are adapted for feeding on nectar and pollen, the former primarily as an energy source and the latter primarily for protein and other nutrients. Most pollen is used as food for larvae.
Bees have a long proboscis (a complex "tongue") that enables them to obtain the nectar from flowers. They have antennae almost universally made up of 13 segments in males and 12 in females, as is typical for the superfamily. Bees all have two pairs of wings, the hind pair being the smaller of the two; in a very few species, one sex or caste has relatively short wings that make flight difficult or impossible, but none are wingless.
The smallest bee is Trigona minima, a stingless bee whose workers are about 2.1 mm (5/64") long. The largest bee in the world is Megachile pluto, a leafcutter bee whose females can attain a length of 39 mm (1.5"). Members of the family Halictidae, or sweat bees, are the most common type of bee in the Northern Hemisphere, though they are small and often mistaken for wasps or flies.
The best-known bee species is the European honey bee, which, as its name suggests, produces honey, as do a few other types of bee. Human management of this species is known as beekeeping or apiculture.
Bees are the favorite meal of Merops apiaster, the bee-eater bird. Other common predators are kingbirds, mockingbirds, beewolves, and dragonflies.
Other articles related to "bee, bees":
... There are more than 20,000 species of wild bees ... mason bees), and many others rear their young in burrows and small colonies, (e.g ... apiculture, is concerned with the practical management of the social species of honey bees, which live in large colonies of up to 100,000 individuals ...
... Media related to Bee (VB) at Wikimedia Commons. ...
... levels of antibodies (mainly IgG) reacting to the major antigen of bee venom, phospholipase A2 (PLA) ... Antibodies correlate with the frequency of bee stings ... The entry of venom into the body from bee-stings may also be hindered and reduced by protective clothing that allows the wearer to remove stings and venom sacs with a simple tug on the clothing ...
... A bee bole is a cavity or alcove in a wall or a separate free-standing structure set against a wall (the Scots word 'bole' means a recess in a wall) ... A skep is placed inside the bee bole ... Before the development of modern bee hives (such as the design published by Lorenzo Langstroth in 1853), bee boles were a practical way of keeping bees in some parts of Britain, although most beekeepers kept their ...
... His classic book The Hive and Honey-bee was published in 1853 ... in the United States', author of Mysteries of Bee-Keeping Explained ... Amos Root, author of the A B C of Bee Culture, which has been continuously revised and remains in print ...
Famous quotes containing the word bee:
“He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossoma pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung about him. He was a glance from God.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)
“Ah evil wedlock! Ah fate!
she incites all to evil,
she flutters over all things,
like a bee in flight.”
—Hilda Doolittle (18861961)
“Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a cowslips bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bats back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)