What do you think of when you think of bees? You probably know that they sting, that they make honey, and that honey bees are different from bumble bees, but how much do you really know? This Useful Notes page is meant to inform you about bees and address common misconceptions.
A bee makes honey by storing the nectar in her (only the sterile females known as "workers" make honey) "honey stomach", which is different from the stomach she digests food in, then flicks it on her tongue in a process known as "ripening". After being ripened, the honey is stored.
Bees also have "sacks" on their back legs which they collect pollen in.
Not all bees have stingers, but bumblebees and honeybees do. The stinger is situated at the tip of the abdomen and when a bee stings, its stinger pokes into the person/creature it's stinging and pumps venom into the area, which is what causes the pain, although bee stings are generally not serious unless a great deal of them sting one person, which might cause death, nausea, or seizures, or the person is allergic, which might cause anaphylaxis. Solitary bees and queen bees can sting more than once, but if a honey bee stings you, it dies because the stinger gets caught in the person's flesh.
Wax is made through pores on the abdomen and is made from the sugar components of digested honey (but is not poop because it's not waste. Poop is different and comes out the bee's anus).
Only queens can lay eggs. In colonies, there is one queen and all the other females (known as workers) are sterile and solitary bees have only drones and queens, and the larvae leave when they grow up. Queen bees are bred in specialized cells and their larvae are fed exclusively on a substance called "royal jelly" which comes from glands in the bee.
In a beehive, the queen lays eggs, the drones mate with her, and the workers do all the other jobs, including making honey, collecting pollen, feeding larvae (a worker who feeds larvae is known as a "nurse bee"), defending the hive, and cleaning the hive.
Bees might become defensive if someone directly attacks them or their hive. They defend by flying towards someone, and eventually stinging them. On rare occasions, bees might chase the invader, especially Africanized bees (the type known as "killer bees".)
Bees normally leave other beehives alone, but might steal honey from other hives if nectar is short, which will cause the bees being robbed to become defensive.
Swarming (a whole group of bees flying) is usually the result of breeding or bees trying to find a new home due to overpopulation.
Honey bees also dance to communicate. They generally dance in a circle without waggling their bottoms if the food is close, and add an increasing number of bottom-waggles the farther away the food is.