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European Honey Bee Facts

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European Honey Bee Facts

European honey bees, sometimes called the Western honey bee, originated in Europe, Western Asia and Africa. They were introduced to North America in 1622 and are currently spread across all continents except Antarctica. Western honey bees are the most common of the 7-12 species of honey bees worldwide. 

All honey bee species are eusocial which means that they create colonies that include a single fertile female called the “queen”, many non-reproductive females which are referred to as “workers”, and a few fertile males called “drones”. Individual colonies can be made up of tens of thousands of bees. 

How To Identify European Honey Bees

European honey bees are known for their yellow color and distinctive black stripes across their abdomens. Depending on the type of European honey bee you’ve come across (is it a worker or a drone?), they will range in size from 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch long. 

European honey bees have two sets of wings and special hind legs that are used as a pollen basket. Worker bees, always female and always sterile, are equipped with barbed stingers and will sting if provoked. 

European Honey Bee Communication

Western honey bees communicate through dance. They communicate information about the distance and the direction of a food source. Through dance they are even able to communicate the circumstances surrounding the food source.

There are three  dances that honey bees use: the round dance, the waggle dance, and the shaking signal or jerking dance. The round dance conveys to other hive members that food is within 160 feet of the hive. The waggle dance provides further information about the direction of a food source through its vertical or horizontal moves. After having been given this information through dance by returning honey bees, other bees then use their olfactory senses to find the food source themselves. The shaking signal is quite common in worker communication but also appears during reproductive swarming. 

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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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