The Worker Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)

The hard working honey bee collects food from flowers

A worker bee on a flower

This photo shows a worker honey bee (Apis Mellifera) collecting nectar from a lavender flower. Photo taken by Simon Davies.

The honey bee is a social insect, meaning she lives together in a colony amongst others that are the same. Her main job is to keep the beehive running by the many jobs she will perform in the six weeks of her busy life. They start life as a nurse bee nurturing brood (unborn bees, drones and queens). Other tasks include guarding the entrance of the colony, building honeycomb, ripening nectar to honey, packing pollen, cleaning the hive and carrying out the dead. The last one is the most dangerous - to forage for nectar, pollen, water and propolis. During this time she could be eaten by a bird, spider or killed in their line of duty. Their driving emphasis is to sustain the colony. She also controls the many actions of the colony, for example swarming.