Honey bee

Apis mellifera

Honey bee, Western Honey Bee, European Honey Bee

Apis mellifera - Medicago sativa - Valingu by Ivar Leidus (CC BY-SA 4.0)
1 of 10
A close up of Apis mellifera western honey bee
Apis mellifera - Medicago sativa - Valingu by Ivar Leidus (CC BY-SA 4.0)
1 of 10
Apis mellifera, more widely known as the Western Honey Bee, feed solely on nectar and pollen. It's proposed they were domesticated by humans for honey production around 10,000 years ago. Today, the species is found worldwide. A. mellifera now holds approximately 20 subspecies across the globe! Honeybees are incredibly social; living in colonies made up of several thousand individuals. There are three types of Honey Bee in a typical hive, including the queen, worker bees, and male drones. When the hive becomes too overcrowded, the old queen will leave the nest to begin a new colony. A new queen remains in the original location to take over the previous queens hive. This is what's known as swarming behaviour. A single honeybee will sometimes fly as far as five miles in a day, reaching speeds of 20mph.


Excellent garden pollinators and the primary producers of honey!
May move into the lofts of homes during swarming behaviour.


Adults: Honeybees have a 'wasp waist', meaning they have a narrowing between the thorax and abdomen. In comparison to bumblebees, honeybees are a lot thinner in shape. They possess golden-yellow hairs; the abdomen is shiny black with amber banding. If you get close enough, you might be able to spot the pollen baskets on the legs, which they use during foraging. They look like large bright yellow swellings when full, and when empty they're shiny flat plates with whisp-like hairs. Only the females have them. You can tell the males apart from the females using the eyes. The male's eyes are much larger, covering most of the head, with no gap between the eyes (unlike the females). Male drones need the best vision so that they can quickly spot a female to mate! Larvae & Eggs: These remain in the nest for most of their lives, along with the queen bee. Each has its brood chamber, where they're fed a mixture of pollen and honey.












Biological treatment

Help bees by planting a selection of native plants. Leave grasses to grow for a little longer than usual, leaving a few select patches of native weeds.

Chemical treatment

Bees are incredibly vulnerable to poisoning from herbicides and pesticides. It is recommended to research before you spray any chemicals, altogether avoiding plants in flower. It's not advised to keep bees if you live close to a farm which uses pesticides on its crops.


Be the first to download the app

Help us build a place where community meets knowledge. Try it out and let us know what you think.
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

What is Candide?

Candide has everything for plant lovers – buy plants from independent sellers and book tickets to visit inspiring gardens near you. Identify plants in seconds from a single photo and learn how to care for them with our in-depth guides.


Learn how to care for your plants and share your growing successes on Candide’s free app for your phone or tablet.

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Germinated in Bristol © 2021 Candide