Alphabetical Plant Listing


Honey Bee, Apis mellifera

Honey bees are insects that belong to the genus Apis and are best known for their role in producing honey and pollinating many important crops. They are small insects with a distinctive appearance.

Where to find them

The honey bee is a species of bee that is found in many parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, and North America. They are also introduced in South America, Australia, and some other regions. The distribution of honey bees can be influenced by several factors, including climate, availability of food and suitable nesting sites, and the presence of other bee species and competitors. In general, honey bees are adapted to live in temperate climates, although some populations are able to survive in subtropical and tropical regions as well.


  1. Body: Honey bees have a compact and robust body covered in fine hairs. Their body is divided into three segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The head contains the eyes, antennae, and mouthparts, while the thorax contains the wings and legs. The abdomen contains the digestive and reproductive organs.

  2. Wings: Honey bees have two pairs of wings that are membranous and covered in fine veins. They use their wings to fly and to communicate with other bees through a process called "wing-beating."

  3. Legs: Honey bees have six legs used to walk, cling to surfaces, and collect pollen. They have special structures on their legs called "pollen baskets" that they use to carry pollen back to the hive.

  4. Antennae: Honey bees have long, thin antennae that they use to sense their environment and communicate with other bees. The antennae are covered in fine hairs and are often used to detect pheromones, which are chemicals used by bees to communicate with each other.

  5. Color: Honey bees are usually a light brown or golden color with black and yellow stripes. Their coloration is distinctive and helps them to recognize each other and to identify the members of their colony.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a honey bee follows a series of stages, from egg to adult. The honey bee life cycle is a characteristic of social bees, as they live in large, organized colonies with different tasks assigned to different colony members.

  1. Egg: The life cycle of a honey bee begins with the laying of an egg by the queen bee. The egg is fertilized if the queen has mated with a drone.

  2. Larva: The egg hatches into a larva after three days. The larva is fed by nurse bees with a mixture of royal jelly and pollen. The larva molts several times and eventually pupates into a cocoon.

  3. Pupa: The pupa remains inside the cocoon for about 8-12 days, during which time it undergoes metamorphosis and transforms into an adult bee.

  4. Worker Bee: The newly emerged adult bee is a worker bee. Worker bees are female and play many important roles in the colony, including gathering food, caring for the young, cleaning the hive, and defending the colony.

  5. Drone: Some of the eggs the queen lays will hatch into male drones. Drones have only one purpose, which is to mate with a queen bee from another colony.

  6. Queen Bee: A small number of eggs are selected to develop into queen bees. Queen bees are larger than the other bees in the colony and have a longer lifespan. Their sole purpose is to lay eggs and keep the colony thriving.

The life cycle of a honey bee is a repeating cycle of birth, growth, and death, with each stage serving a specific purpose in the maintenance and growth of the colony. The colony's success depends on the cooperation of all colony members, working together to provide for the common good.

Why a Beneficial Insect?

Honeybees are considered beneficial insects for several reasons:

  1. Pollination: Honey bees are important pollinators for many crops and plants, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. By transferring pollen from flower to flower, they help to fertilize plants and produce crops. In fact, honey bees are responsible for pollinating over one-third of the world's food supply.

  2. Honey Production: Honey bees produce honey, a sweet and nutritious food source that has been used by humans for thousands of years. In addition to being a food source, honey is also used for medicinal purposes and as a natural sweetener.

  3. Ecological Balance: Honeybees play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance of many ecosystems. By pollinating plants, they help to sustain the populations of other insects, birds, and animals that depend on these plants for food and habitat.

  4. Economic Value: The production of honey, as well as the pollination of crops, contributes significantly to the global economy. Beekeeping is a significant industry in many countries, providing jobs and income for millions of people.

Overall, honey bees are beneficial insects that play a crucial role in many ecosystems and the economy. They are a keystone species, and their decline or disappearance would have far-reaching consequences for the environment and human society.

Attract this Beneficial Insect to your Garden

Here are some tips for attracting honey bees to your garden:

  1. Plant a variety of flowers: Honey bees are attracted to a wide variety of flowers, so try to include a mix of annuals, perennials, and shrubs in your garden. Some good options include clover, lavender, mint, roses, and sunflowers.

  2. Provide a water source: Honey bees need a source of water to drink and to use for cooling the hive on hot days. A shallow dish of water with small stones or sticks in it can provide a safe place for bees to land and drink.

  3. Avoid using pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to honey bees and other beneficial insects. Whenever possible, use natural methods to control pests, such as companion planting, hand-picking, or using beneficial insects.

  4. Create a habitat: You can attract more honey bees to your garden by providing nesting sites. Consider creating a bee house or leaving bare patches of ground for ground-nesting bees.

  5. Offer a variety of blooms: Honey bees need food throughout the growing season, so try to have flowers blooming in your garden from early spring to late fall.

By creating a diverse and inviting habitat, you can attract more honey bees to your garden and enjoy their benefits as pollinators and producers of honey.

Guide Information

Daniel Prudek, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Find your Hardiness Zone

Find your Climate Zone

Find your Heat Zone


Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

Join now and start creating your dream garden!

Create a New Collection

Optional. For your reference.

Move Selected Plants to a Different Collection

Delete Collection

This field is required.

Rename Collection

This field is required.