There are several hundred different types of bee resident in the British Isles. We talk about two different groups: social bees and solitary bees.
Social Bee / As their name suggests, social bees live in groups. Honeybees are particularly sociable and can live in groups of up to 50,000 together in a single hive. Bumblebees are also social, but live in smaller groups of 50-150. Both types depend on queen bees who lay all of the eggs for the group.
Solitary bees / In contrast, solitary bees live on their own. They can make burrows underground, or live in quarry faces, old wood, and even masonry. A female solitary bee builds her nest and provides food for her young without the help of any worker bees. Despite this some solitary bees may appear to live in colonies, with many bees making their nests close to each other in a suitable piece of habitat. There are over 250 kinds of solitary bee.
Bees are not protected but they are in danger if current issues such as disease and carelessness continues. Treatment/disposal of the nest must be considered carefully. Bees are important for our echo system due to them being pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables. This means that they help other plants grow! Bees transfer pollen between the male and female parts, allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit. The average worker bee lives for just five to six weeks. During this time, she’ll produce around a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey. Sadly, over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been disappearing, and the reason remains unknown. Referred to as colony collapse disorder, billions of Honey bees across the world are leaving their hives, never to return. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared
Honey Bees Development from egg to emerging bee varies among queens, workers, and drones. Queens emerge from their cells in 15–16 days, workers in 21 days, and drones in 24 days. Only one queen is usually present in a hive. New virgin queens develop in enlarged cells through differential feeding of royal jelly by workers. When the existing queen ages or dies or the colony becomes very large, a new queen is raised by the worker bees. The virgin queen takes one or several nuptial flights. She mates once she is established, and begins laying eggs. A fertile queen is able to lay fertilized or unfertilized eggs. Each unfertilized egg contains a unique combination of 50% of the queen’s genes and develops into a haploid drone. The fertilized eggs develop into either workers or virgin queens (but only if fed royal jelly exclusively). The average lifespan of a queen is three to four years; drones usually die upon mating or are expelled from the hive before the winter; and workers may live for a few weeks in the summer and several months in areas with an extended winter.
Life Span: Western honey bee: 122 – 152 days
Size: 2-2.5 cm in length
Weight:: Drone around 0.02 g
Workers between 0.04-0.60 g
Queen up to 0.85 g
Habitat: Meadows, parks and gardens
Range: Worldwide except arctic regions
Scientific Name: Anthophila