Did you know there are over 250 species (types) of bees in Britain alone? Around the world, there are more than 20,000 species of bee! Not all kinds of bee have a Queen – in fact, most don’t! Bees with no Queen are called solitary bees. Instead of living in a colony, or hive, they make their own private nests.
How bees help us
Bees drink nectar from flowers, using their proboscis (a straw-like tongue). When bees feed from flowers, they get flower pollen on their bodies. When they visit the next flower, bees take the pollen with them (this is called pollination). Flowers need pollination to make fruits and other foods which we eat. Up to a third of the food we eat around the world uses pollination by bees!
Only honeybees, and a few others, can make honey. When honeybees feed, the nectar goes into a special tummy. Sugar in the nectar is changed into other sugars and acid. The acid stops nasty bugs growing in the honey. Bees put the sugary water mix back into honeycomb in their hives. They flap their wings to dry the mix out, which makes it thicker – this is honey!
A honeybee will make about one and a half teaspoons of honey in its whole life! Did you know: honey made from different types of nectar has different tastes?
Parts of a bee
Explore the image below to find out about the different parts of a honey bee! Or, download an accessible version of the interactive below.