Honey Bees

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Habit
Cosmopolitan. Social insects forming complex colonies, in the wild in hollow trees etc. but many colonies are 'owned' by beekeepers in special hives. Colonies can survive for several years and overwinter (as adults) using stored honey as food. One queen lays eggs, with many thousands of sterile female workers, males short lived. Can sting but in the UK only if threatened. Some strains worldwide are more aggressive than UK strains and can sting with less provocation.
Biology
Egg - larva -pupa -adult. Worker total 3 weeks.
Eggs - many 1000's of eggs laid by queen throughout spring and summer each year.
Larvae - legless grubs within wax, hexagonal cells fed by workers on bee milk only (queens) or beemilk and nectar/pollen (workers).
Pupae - develop within cell
Adults - dark brown, hairy All castes are winged, workers 12-15 mm, queen 16-20 mm.
Importance
Beneficial insects of great importance as pollinators and for honey and wax. Their ability to sting, and occasionally swarming, can cause problems. Usually their benefits outweigh these but sometimes there is a health or serious nuisance risk.
Control
Contact beekeeper to collect swarms or to advise on bees in difficult locations. Only consider killing bees (with approved insecticides) as a last resort and ensure that non-target bees are not subsequently affected by treatment (eg bees robbing honey from treated areas).
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