Honey Bees remain active throughout the winter and can swarm when threatened. Generally harmless insects, the honey bee is a social species ...
Latin Name: Apis mellifera
Months of Activity: January - December
Unlike most insects, honey bees remain active throughout the winter with honey produced from the nectar of flowers providing plenty of food during the colder months. Honey bees are social insects and create elaborate nests, or hives, containing up to 20,000 individuals during the summer months.
When threatened, honey bees will swarm out and attack with their stingers to drive the enemy away, but generally as they forage around your garden, they are quite harmless and will only sting if they accidently become caught in clothing.
In the UK, honey bees are able to survive winter as a colony, and the queen begins egg laying in mid to late winter to prepare for spring. She is the only fertile female, and deposits all the eggs from which the other bees are produced.
Except a brief mating period when she may make several flights to mate with drones, or if she leaves in later life with a swarm to establish a new colony, the queen rarely leaves the hive after the larvae have become full grown bees.
The queen deposits each egg in a cell prepared by the worker bees. The egg hatches into a small larva which is fed by nurse bees (worker bees who maintain the interior of the colony). After about a week, the larva is sealed up in its cell by the nurse bees and begins the pupal stage. After another week, it will emerge an adult bee.
Effective control of the honey bee often involves the removal of the bee nest in the first instance, followed by an intensive program of integrated pest management. Over recent years, the honey bee has become a threatened species, and so pest control methods should only be carried out by a qualified pest control technician.
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