Honey Bee - Apis mellifera

Scientific Name: Apis mellifera.

English Name: Honey Bee or Hive Bee.

French Name: L'Abeille européene.

A Honey Bee forages on apricot blossom in March.
5 Key Characters:
  • very distinctive wing venation, with a very long thin apical cell almost to wing tip.
  • a social species, living in large colonies, both domestic and wild.
  • makes wax comb nest of 6 sided cells (suspended vertically in the wild) and produces honey.
  • brown medium-large bee.
  • swarms in the spring.
Lookalikes: Other similar sized brown bees eg Andrena spp. There are also some flies which mimic Honey Bees very closely in appearance and behaviour in the field.

Habitat: Wild colonies build nests in hollow trees. Domestic hives can be found almost anywhere from the rooftops of high rise buildings in the city to rural gardens and orchards. Although common and welcomed in gardens as pollinators they are unable to pollinate vegetables of New World origin eg potatoes, tomatoes, chillies and peppers, and they are often not the most important pollinator of fruit trees.

Flight Period: Early spring to autumn.

Status: Very common.

More Info:
Post on Days on the Claise about Feral Bees.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
Foraging on a dahlia.
Foraging on a dahlia.
A swarm (Fr. essaim) of feral honey bees on the forest fringe in the Parc de Boussay.
Honey Bees foraging in a sunflower crop.

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