Apis melliferaHoney Bee
Apis mellifera, or the common honey bee is 'naturalized' to Nova Scotia. A transmigrated species from Europe several centuries ago, this bee species has established itself within the woods and fields of the province, through its reproductive method known as swarming and has become effectively an indigenous species.
Honey bees are considered the apex social bee, building very large nests during the summer which may house as many as 80,000 individuals at its peak. There are three primary inhabitants of the colony. The 'queen' which is the only fertile, laying female within the entire colony. The ‘worker’ bees which are infertile females (hormone suppression) that build the combs, collect pollen and nectar, feed the young (brood), and act as stinging guards for the colony. Lastly, there are the ‘drones’ or male bees. They do not produce any food or wax for the colony, and exist for the sole purpose of mating with a virgin queen.
The worker honey bee is the smallest at approximately 15 to 17 mm in length. The drones are larger, thicker and wider approximately 16 to 18 mm in length. The queen is the largest member of the colony at approximately 20 to 22 mm in length.
Honey bees have a variety of colours depending on their 'race' and can be yellow, orange, black or blonde in various combinations. They are often striped laterally across their abdomens.