The western honey bee or European honey bee – Apis mellifera is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. The genus name Apis is Latin for “bee”, and mellifera means “honey-bearing”, referring to the species tendency to produce a large quantity of honey for storage over the winter.
Like all honey bees, the western honey bee is eusocial, creating colonies with a single fertile female – the queen, many sterile females or “workers,” and small proportion of fertile males or “drones.” Individual colonies can house tens of thousands of bees. Colony activities are organized by complex communication between individuals, through both odors and the dance language.
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