Bees are winged insects of the super-family Apoidea, order Hymenoptera. There are more than 20,000 recorded bee species and can be found around the world. Chalicodoma Pluto, the largest of the species is reported to be around 4 cm long, while the smallest of bees, are only 0.17 cm long.
Bees can be found in various colors or color combinations such as black or brown with red, yellow or lustrous blue stripes. All bees are hairy, a trait which is crucial to the collection of pollen. Flowers and flourishing vegetation usually coincide with the presence of bees. There is no insect as important as the bee when it comes to pollination.
Many female bee species have rows of bristles on their hind legs which form a “basket”. When the bee lands on a flower, pollen grains are combed into the basket. Cross-pollination occurs when a bee lands on another plant and the displaced grains of pollen are distributed to the fertile pistils.
Although only females are able to transfer pollen, all bees are able to sip the nectar from flowers. This nectar is their primary source of energy. Pollen is sustenance for both adult and larval bees, as it contains protein and other nutrients necessary to their survival. Bees convert the gathered nectar into honey, which is collected depending on the species inside the hive, or bee colony.
While some bees live solitary lives, species such as honey bees and bumblebees are tremendously social. Bee colonies are comprised of three castes or groups: the queen bee, infertile female worker bees, and male drones. The queen mates and lays eggs for the span of her life which can be as long as five years, though most average a lifespan of two to three years. Male drones exist solely to fertilize the queen and die soon after having fulfilled their task. Female worker bees perform a multitude of tasks necessary to the survival of the hive. As a result of their constant laboring, their average life span is usually a short six weeks.