About CCD Colony collapse Disorder

     Beekeepers around the United States have reported higher-than-usual colony losses since the fall of 2006. These elevated losses have been called “Colony Collapse Disorder” (or CCD). Some beekeepers in states reporting CCD have lost 50-90% of their colonies, often within a matter of weeks. Despite these high losses, the average number of colony losses has been ~30% since CCD was first reported in 2006. Regardless, this translates into thousands of dead colonies and millions of dead bees. In a country where honey bees contribute billions of dollars in added revenue to the agriculture industry, these bee losses cannot be taken lightly.

     Colony Collapse Disorder is not be a new disorder. In fact, many colonies have died over the past 50-60 years displaying symptoms similar to those of CCD. The disorder as described in older literature has been called spring dwindle disease, fall dwindle disease, autumn collapse, May disease, and disappearing disease. We may never know if these historic occurrences share a common cause with modern-day CCD. They do, however, share the symptoms.

     Symptomatically, colonies with CCD can appear healthy just weeks prior to collapse. However, the adult bees soon "disappear" (hence its historic nickname "disappearing disease") from the colonies, leaving behind a box full of honey, pollen, capped brood, a queen, and maybe a few worker bees. Beekeepers report that colonies with CCD do not contain any dead bees, nor are there dead bees on the ground outside of the colonies. The adult bees simply vanish. The final symptom is that small hive beetles, wax moths, and other nearby honey bees ignore the empty hives even though the hives contain stored food on which they ordinarily feed.

The Bee Basics 

Bees may not have a good reputation because of their ability to sting, but many are important and beneficial. Honey bees are the bees with the best public image. We see them as industrious ("busy as a bee") and we appreciate their main product, honey, as setting the standard for all that is wonderful and sweet. Here we will discuss some basic facts and history about bees.

Over 25,000 species of bees have been identified in the world, with perhaps as many as 40,000 species yet to be identified. In the continental United States scientists have found approximately 3,500 species of bees. The desert regions of northern Mexico and southern Arizona have the richest diversity of bees found anywhere in the world. Although there is no exact count, a bee scientist at the USDA Carl Hayden Bee Research Center says there are between 1,000 and 1,200 species of bees within 100 miles of Tucson!

You may wonder how this can be true. It turns out that not all bees are social bees that live in large families like bumble bees and honey bees. Most are less well-known bees called solitary bees, for example carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, alkali bees, digger bees or sweat bees. Female solitary bees build their own nests and provide food for only their own offspring. All bees collect pollen and nectar, and many of the solitary species are essential because they pollinate plants ignored by honey bees.

What we call honey bees are represented by eight to 10 species in the genus Apis, a name from which comes the word for beekeeping (apiculture) and the word for a bee yard (apiary). The species of honey bee commonly found today in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas is Apis mellifera, which means honey carrier. This name is not technically correct as the bees carry nectar from flowers which they then use to produce honey back in the hive. Only when the bees are moving to a new nest (swarming) do they carry honey.

There are 24 races of Apis mellifera. The races have different physical and behavioral characteristics such as body color, wing length, and susceptibility to disease. But, since they are all of the same species, bees from one race can mate with bees from another race, creating even more variation within the honey bee universe. Caucasian bees ( A. mellifera caucasica) are known to be extremely docile, whereas the black or German bees ( A. mellifera mellifera) are known to overwinter well in severe climates. The African group of bees includes not only the largest number of geographic races (12), but also some of the best known, such as the notorious A. mellifera scutellata. It was a few queens of this highly defensive race that were brought into Brazil in 1957 and started the bees we now know as "Africanized honey bees."

The true honey bee was not native to the Americas. Prior to Columbus, people in Central and South America collected honey from bees known as "stingless bees." Although stingless bees do actually lack a stinger, they are not completely defenseless. They can inflict painful bites with their mandibles. They also do not produce honey in the same quantity as A. mellifera.

In the early part of the 16th century, the Spanish brought over the first honey bee colonies. English colonists did the same and soon honey bees had escaped into the wild and were buzzing all over North America. In some cases, the honey bees travelled in advance of the European settlers and came in contact with Native American tribes, who dubbed them "white man's flies." By the time the frontier had been settled, late in the 19th century, honey bees were regarded as a natural part of the insect world in North America.

In Brazil and other tropical areas, the introduced honey bees did not survive as well as they did in temperate climates. In an effort to improve honey production in the tropics, a scientist began some breeding experiments using some of the common European honey bees and crossing them with the A. mellifera scutellata bees. This Africanized mixture proved to have the highly defensive behavior of the African race. In 1957 some of the bees escaped, and they have been slowly spreading northwards ever since. Africanized honey bees reached Arizona in 1993.

More than 211,000 beekeepers maintain about 3.2 million honey bee colonies in the United States. Beekeepers often use their bees for pollination of crops rather than for honey production. In fact, one third of our food production is the direct result of pollination by insects. So, although we will have to be more cautious of honey bees in the future, they will remain an important part of our environment.

 Honey Bees and Their  Homes
Honey bees live in large family groups called colonies. A full-sized colony at the height of the growing season contains an average of 60,000 individual bees. Honey bees tended by beekeepers live in wood boxes called hives. Some well-managed hives in bee yards contain up to 80,000 individual bees.

The central structure of the colony is the wax comb. It is made up of six-sided, white wax chambers or cells. The cells vary in size according to the purpose. Smaller chambers are for raising female worker bees, larger ones are for raising male drones. Queen chambers are the largest. The comb is made of beeswax, a substance secreted from worker bee abdominal glands. The wax is secreted as tiny flakes, which are then chewed and molded into cells. Other construction in and around the hive is done with propolis, a sticky substance bees manufacture from tree and plant resin. The comb contains the stored honey and is home for the immature bees.

Honey bees usually build their comb in a protected area or cavity with an access hole the size of a pencil eraser or larger. Wild (feral) honey bees nest in enclosed areas such as a hole in a tree if possible, but sometimes they will construct comb out in the open on a thick branch of a tree or under rock outcroppings. The elaborate exposed combs full of amber-colored honey they construct can be very beautiful.

Africanized honey bees are far less selective than European honey bees about where they will set up a colony. They will occupy a much smaller space than the European honey bee. They also seem to prefer to nest closer to the ground. Water meter boxes, mail boxes, animal burrows, trash, debris, even an empty soda pop can could be viewed as "home" to Africanized honey bees.

Honey bees move from site to site by swarming . A portion of the bees leave the colony with the old queen and take up residence in a new location. Africanized honey bees tend to swarm more often than European honey bees, and are also more likely to abscond. When bees " abscond" they all take off to find a new nest, rather than just a portion of the workers leaving. Bees typically abscond when they sense a threat to their colony or when foraging opportunities have almost been exhausted in the present location. Africanized honey bees have been selected over centuries to survive in areas where scarcity of resources is common and absconding is the only alternative if the colony is to survive.

Tropical Apiaries
Bee Removal Service & Bee Farm 

Specializing In Bee Removal, Relocation,
and Extermination Services

Serving Dade, Broward & Palm Beach Counties



Honey Bee FAQ 

Q:  Where did these bees come from?
A:  Bee colonies swarm at least one time per year and the Africanized bees can swarm up to 5 times or more per year. When a bee colony swarms it is usually many thousands of bees looking for a new home. Honey bee colonies send out scout bees to find a new location ahead of time and a short while later they all take off for the new location. It takes only about 15 to 20 minutes for the cloud of bees to settle in and bingo you now have a fresh new colony of bees on your property. A colony of bees can go a few feet to many miles to find a home or build one on a branch of a tree.

Q: Did the bees choose my house because of my flowers?
A: No. Bees like to choose large hollow locations like CBS block walls bird houses, under sheds, in eves, power poles and many other places that are hollow, check out our picture page.

Q: Should all of the honey comb be removed?
A: Yes. You must remove the entire nest. If you leave it in place you will get all kinds of pests and most likely get a re-infestation of bees.

Q: Way do honey bees swarm?
A: Honey bee colonies swarm because that’s how they reproduce. It is nature’s way of keeping the population up.

Q: How can you tell if there Africanized?
A: You have to send them to a lab and have them tested. They look exactly the same and do exactly the same things. The only difference is there temperament and resistance to tropical pests like mites and hive beetles.       

Q: What does the smoke do to the bees?
A: The smoke only hides the alarm pheromone. A lot of people think that smoke will drive them out but in reality, it will only drive them deeper into the structure. Beekeepers will use smoke to help keep the bees calm when robbing honey or inspecting a bee hive. Bees communicate in two ways one by “pheromones” and two is the “bee dance”. The use of smoke interrupts the pheromone communication which is a smell that they emit. 

Q: Way do Bees make honey?
A: Bees make honey out of nectar they collect from flowers. The reason they do this is because it is there food stores just like we go to the store and put groceries in our cabinets, it’s not just for the bears and us. Bees consume honey, pollen and water. Bees are natural hoarders so when there is an abundance of flowers they will collect all they can get their hands on and what this means is, they can make enough for us and themselves. 

Q: What happens if the queen dies? 
Contrary to popular belief, the queen does not run the colony, the workers do. A colony is made up of male bees, underdeveloped female bees and one fully developed female bee. The fully developed female bee is the queen and her only job is laying eggs. It is the worker bees that run the colony and they are the under developed females. Worker bees will live 4 to 6 weeks but the queen can live up to 4 years and only have mated once in her life time. When the queen can no longer perform her duties or dies unexpectedly, the worker bees will make a new queen as needed. Worker bees can make a new queen any time they need to if they have a fertilized egg or a larva no older than 3 days. A female larva chosen by the worker bees is feed royal jelly and hatch out vertically in about 16 days as opposed to horizontally and 21 days like all the worker bees. The food they eat when they are in the larva state is what turns the otherwise normal female worker bee, into a “queen bee” or a fully developed female bee. 

Q: Is it illegal to exterminate  honey bees in Florida?
A:  No. It is not illegal to eradicate feral or wild honey bees in Florida if they are on your own property or you have a PCO License to do business in Florida. Many People read on some website or someone tells them incorrectly that you can't kill honey bees because they are endangered, that is  misinformation. Honey bees are not on any endangered list. The State of Florida does not prohibit a "licensed pest control operator" or a "home owner" from exterminating a nuisance, feral colony of bees. The laws on pest control can be found in chapter (482) and (5-E 14) you can do a quick internet search and learn more about them. We are a licensed & Insured CPCO and we are registered local  Broward beekeepers. We relocate honey bees only when it is safe and cost effective to do so. 

Q: Are bees on the endangered list?
A:  No. Honey bees are not on the endangered species list nor are they at risk of being on the list at this time. There has been a lot of talk about bee die off lately and that is concerning to many people. The die off that is being talked about today is the commercial beekeepers loosing their bees not feral or wild honey bees. There are many reasons for this, only some of which are the vorroa mites, unknown pathogens, chemicals used in bee hives by beekeepers, and mishandling of bee colonies and extreme weather conditions. All of those plus others have led to the decline of the commercial bee colonies that we here so much about today.    

Q: I have bees in a bird house. Do I have to remove them?

A: The best way to answer this is to explain  Florida laws on bee keeping. In Florida, in order to keep honey bees legally on your property you must be a registered bee keeper. Your yard must conform to the specification in the Florida statute "best management requirements". All bee hives must have removable frames and be inspected by the state each year. With all that said the short answer is yes you need to get rid of them or put them in a bee hive. If you want to keep bees on your property, you can, if you adhere to the laws on bee keeping. It may sound difficult, but it's not. There are many thousands of "back yard bee keepers" in Florida including me. I keep as many as 35 colonies with no problem. Back yard bee keeping is not expansive or labor intensive, people of all ages can be successful at it. Give us a call and we would be happy to explain more about bee keeping in Florida.

Top 10 Most Commonly asked Questions  and Answers about Africanized Honey Bees

1. I have heard of "killer bees," what are they?

The so-called "killer bees" are actually a strain of honey bee known as the Africanized honey bee. Africanized honey bees look exactly like the common European honey bee. Only highly trained specialists using sophisticated laboratory equipment can tell them apart.

2. Where do they come from?

Africanized honey bees were first introduced into Brazil in 1956 in an attempt to improve honey production in the tropics. They were accidentally released into the wild, and have been moving slowly towards the United States ever since. A few colonies were found in Texas in 1990. They entered Arizona in 1993, along the southern border.

3. How dangerous is a sting by an Africanized honey bee?

If you are stung by one Africanized honey bee, it will be the same as a sting from the common European honey bee. The individual stings are not more powerful or painful. In fact, they are slightly less potent than the European honey bee. Even one honey bee sting can be dangerous, however, if you are allergic to them. If you have symptoms other than pain and localized swelling, you should always seek medical attention immediately.

4. Why are they called "killer" bees?

Africanized honey bees have received a great deal of notoriety because they defend their hives (or colonies) so diligently. Many more bees come to the defense of the colony and they are much more likely to sting, even with minimal or no provocation. Victims of attacks by Africanized honey bees may be stung hundreds of times. Away from the hive, however, they are no more aggressive than other bees or wasps. They will not form large swarms and hunt for you.

5. What should I do if I am attacked?

The best strategy is to RUN away as fast as you can. Get to the shelter of a house or car as quickly as possible. Because the bees target your head and eyes, try to cover your head as much as you can, without slowing your progress. Do not flail or attempt to swat the bees, just get away fast. If you are far from shelter, try to run through tall brush. This will confuse and slow them while you make your way out of the area. If you see someone being attacked by bees, encourage them to run away or seek shelter. Do not attempt to rescue them your self, seek emergency help.

6. What should I do after I have reached safety?

When a honey bee stings, it leaves its stinger in the skin. This kills the honey bee, so it can't sting again. Once you are away from the bees, remove all stingers from your body. Do not pull them out with tweezers or your fingers, as this will only squeeze more venom into the wound. Scrape them out sideways using your fingernails, the edge of a credit card, or with a dull knife. If you are feeling ill, or if you have any reason to believe you may be allergic to bee stings, seek medical attention immediately.

7. What if I notice a honey bee swarm near my home?

Each spring, and to a lesser extent during the fall, about half of the work force of a honey bee colony separates from the rest and flies out to form a new colony at a different site. While they are in transition, the bees are called a "swarm." When they are swarming the bees tend to be mild mannered because they do not have a nest to defend, but it is still best to avoid them. Even though they may be resting at a site, they may move on shortly. DO NOT DISTURB HONEY BEE NESTS OR SWARMS. Don't throw rocks, or other objects, or molest with firearms. If the swarm has begun to build a wax honeycomb, they should be removed while the colony is still relatively small.

8. What if I find a bee colony near my home?

Don't panic if you find an established honey bee colony in your neighborhood. Keep every one away. Call Tropical Apiaries for a price quote.  Do not try to remove colonies yourself.

9. How do I bee proof my home?

To prevent bees from settling in your house or yard, keep all holes and cavities in trees or outside walls filled or covered. Cover the hole of water meter boxes with a rock and check regularly. Remove any trash or debris that might serve as a shelter for bees, such as over turned clay pots. Solitary, foraging honey bees are often attracted to evaporative coolers as a source of water. Bees can be discouraged by placing a few ounces of pine-scented liquid cleaner in the water. Pet water and bird baths may be attractive as well. Add two (2) table spoons of vinegar per gallon of water to discourage bees. Individual bees gathering pollen and nectar from flowers should be left alone.

It is recommended that you (or a service) inspect your home and property at least once a month for signs of honey bee swarms or colonies.

10. Should all bees be killed?

No, all beekeepers are required by law to keep up their managed colonies according to the "Florida best management requirements." Honey bees pollinate many vegetables, fruits, and nuts, in addition to supplying us with honey. Only feral bee colonies should be exterminated or relocated by a licensed PCO.

A little Honey Bee Biology 

The following is a discussion of the members of a honey bee colony, their development and their duties within the colony.

The vast majority of adult honey bees in any colony are female worker bees. The jobs of the worker bees are: tending and feeding young bees (larvae), making honey, making royal jelly and beebread to feed larvae, producing wax, cooling the hive by fanning wings, gathering and storing pollen, nectar and water, guarding the hive, building, cleaning and repairing the comb, and feeding and taking care of the queen and drones. In part, the job the worker honey bee performs on any given day depends on its age.

As insects, honey bees pass through four distinct life stages: the egg, larva, pupa and adult. The process is called complete metamorphosis, which means that the form of the bee changes drastically from the larva to the adult. Passing through the immature stages takes 21 days for worker bees. On the first day, the queen bee lays a single egg in each cell of the comb. The egg generally hatches into a larva on the fourth day. The larva is a legless grub that resembles a tiny white sausage. The larva is fed a mixture of pollen and nectar called beebread. On the ninth day the cell is capped with wax and the larva transforms into the pupa. The pupa is a physical transition stage between the amorphous larva and the hairy, winged adult. The pupa doesn't eat. On day 21, the new adult worker bee emerges.

The male members of the colony, the drones, are somewhat larger and make up only about five percent of the hive population. Drones are fed royal jelly, and develop in a slightly larger cell than worker bees from unfertilized eggs. Drones remain in the pupal stage for 15 days, so they don't emerge until day 24. Drones have huge compound eyes that meet at the top of their head and an extra segment in their antennae. In comparison to worker bees, drones have wider bodies and their abdomens are rounded rather than pointed. Drones, like all other male bees and wasps, do not have stingers.

There is only one queen in a honey bee colony. She is slightly larger than a worker bee, with a longer abdomen. She does not have pollen baskets on her legs. Eggs destined to become queens are laid in a larger cell, and the larvae are fed only royal jelly. The adult queen's sole duty is to lay eggs, up to 2,000 a day! She is fed by the workers and never leaves the hive except to mate.

Queen bees also have stingers and use them in battles with each other for dominance of the colony. If a new queen emerges from her incubation cell and is detected by the current queen, the "old lady" often goes over and kills her rival. In this way, the stability of the colony is maintained. When a queen gets old or weak and slows her production of queen substance, she is generally replaced by a new queen. New queens are also produced in colonies about to swarm.

Virgin queen bees take what is known as a "nuptial flight" sometime within the first week or two after emerging from the pupal chamber. The new queen flies out of the hive and begins to produce a perfume-like substance called a "pheromone." The drones in the area are attracted to the pheromone and the queen will mate with as many as 20 of them. After mating, the drones die.

Once the queen has mated, she heads back to the hive to start laying eggs in beeswax chambers that the workers have created especially for this purpose. A queen can lay her own weight in eggs every day and, since she can maintain the sperm she has collected for her lifetime in a special pouch in her body, she can continue laying eggs indefinitely. The fertilized eggs laid by a queen become female worker bees and new queens. The queen also lays some unfertilized eggs, which produce the drones. Since they come from unfertilized eggs, the drones carry only the chromosomes of the queen.

The drones could be called the couch potatoes of the insect world. While they wait for an opportunity to mate with a virgin queen, they are fed and cared for by workers, and only occasionally fly out of the hive to test their wings. If no opportunity to mate arises by fall, the drones are ejected from the nest by the workers and left to fend for themselves.

On average, queen bees live for about a year-and-a-half, although some have been known to survive for up to six years. While she is alive and active, the queens are constantly cared for by workers acting as attendants. In cases where a queen dies prematurely and the colony had no new queen to replace her, some worker bees develop the ability to lay eggs but, because they cannot mate, they produce only drones and the colony eventually perishes.

When the colony starts to become too crowded, some of the bees split off to form a new colony. This is called swarming. First the eggs for new queens are laid in their special larger, vertical and peanut like cells. "Swarming" occurs when part of the colony breaks off with the old queen and flies off looking for another place to call home. The bees engorge themselves on their honey reserves before leaving so as to have sufficient energy to make it to a new location. There can be multiple swarms from one hive, since new queens can also emerge and fly off with part of the worker force.

The Honey Bee Body 

Honey bees have many characteristics common to all insects. Insects have a hard outer covering called an exoskeleton, rather than an internal skeleton like vertebrates. The exoskeleton, which is made of a material called chitin, helps to protect the internal organs of the insect and helps prevent desiccation (drying out). In order to grow, the insect must shed the exoskeleton.

Insects have three body regions: the head, thorax and abdomen. The head contains the sensory organs, and appendages for ingestion. The thorax contains the appendages for locomotion, the legs and wings. The abdomen contains the organs for digestion and reproduction.

Honey Bee Anatomical Characteristics

Abdomen. The honey bee abdomen is composed of nine segments. The wax and some scent glands are located here in the adult. The sting is contained in a pocket at the end of the tapering abdomen in adult females.

Antenna(e). The form of the antenna in insects varies according to its precise function. The antennae are feathery in male moths, elongated in the cockroach, short and bristle-like in the dragonfly, and bead-like in the termite. In honey bees, the segmented antennae are important sensory organs. The antennae can move freely since their bases are set in small socket-like areas on the head. Each of the antennae are connected to the brain by a large double nerve that is necessary to accommodate all of the crucial sensory input. The tiny sensory hairs on each antenna are responsive to stimuli of touch and odor.

Eye(s). Honey bees and people do not see eye to eye. Although honey bees perceive a fairly broad color range, they can only differentiate between six major categories of color, including yellow, blue-green, blue, violet, ultraviolet, and also a color known as "bee's purple," a mixture of yellow and ultraviolet. Bees can not see red. Differentiation is not equally good throughout the range and is best in the blue-green, violet, and bee's purple colors.

Like most insects, honey bees have compound eyes that are made up of thousands of tiny lenses called facets. Scientists think that each facet in a compound eye takes in one small part of the insect's vision. The brain then takes the image from each tiny lens and creates one large mosaic-like picture. This image is somewhat analogous to the image produced on a television screen, in which the "picture" is essentially a grid composed of dots of light. The advantage of the compound eye is its ability to detect movement. Honey bees can easily differentiate between solid and broken patterns, but show a preference for broken figures. Related to this, bees respond more readily to moving flowers than to stationary ones. Therefore, their eye is better adapted for movement perception than for form perception.

Honey bees also have three smaller eyes in addition to the compound eyes. These simple eyes or "ocelli" are located above the compound eyes and are sensitive to light, but can't resolve images.

Head. The honey bee head is triangular when seen from the front. The two antennae arise close together near the center of the face. The bee has two compound eyes and three simple eyes, also located on the head. The honey bee uses its proboscis, or long hairy tongue, to feed on liquids and its mandibles to eat pollen and work wax in comb building.

Leg(s). The honey bee has three pairs of segmented legs. The legs of the bee are primarily used for walking. However, honey bee legs have specialized areas such as the antennae cleaners on the forelegs, and the pollen baskets on the hind legs.

Mandible(s). T he honey bees have a pair of mandibles located on either the side of the head that act like a pair of pliers. The mandibles are used for any chores about the hive that require grasping or cutting, such as working wax to construct the comb, biting into flower parts (anthers) to release pollen, carrying detritus out of the hive, or gripping enemies during nest defense.

Proboscis. The proboscis of the honey bee is simply a long, slender, hairy tongue that acts as a straw to bring the liquid food (nectar, honey and water) to the mouth. When in use, the tongue moves rapidly back and forth while the flexible tip performs a lapping motion. After feeding, the proboscis is drawn up and folded behind the head. Bees can eat fine particles like pollen, which is used as a source of protein, but cannot handle big particles.

Pollen Basket(s). A smooth, somewhat concave surface of the outer hind leg that is fringed with long, curved hairs that hold the pollen in place. This enclosed space is used to transport pollen and propolis to the hive. Also called a corbicula.

Pollen Press. Once the bees have gathered the pollen, they move it to the pollen press located between the two largest segments of the hind leg. It is used to press the pollen into pellets.

Rakes and Combs. Structures on the legs used to collect and remove pollen that sticks to the hairy bodies of honey bees.

Stinger. The stinger is similar in structure and mechanism to an egg-laying organ, known as the ovipositor, possessed by other insects. In other words, the sting is a modified ovipositor that ejects venom instead of eggs. Thus, only female bees can have a stinger.

The sting is found in a chamber at the end of the abdomen, from which only the sharp -pointed shaft protrudes. It is about 1/8-inch long. When the stinger is not in use, it is retracted within the sting chamber of the abdomen. The shaft is turned up so that is base is concealed. The shaft is a hollow tube, like a hypodermic needle. The tip is barbed so that it sticks in the skin of the victim. The hollow needle actually has three sections. The top section is called the stylet and has ridges. The bottom two pieces are called lancets. When the stinger penetrates the skin, the two lancets move back and forth on the ridges of the stylet so that the whole apparatus is driven deeper into the skin. The poison canal is enclosed within the lancets.

In front of the shaft is the bulb. The ends of the lancets within the bulb are enlarged and as they move they force the venom into the poison canal, like miniature plungers. The venom comes from two acid glands that secrete into the poison sac. During stinging, the contents of the alkaline gland are dumped directly into the poison canal where they mix with the acidic portion.

When a honey bee stings a mammal, the stinger becomes embedded. In its struggle to free itself, a portion of the stinger is left behind. This damages the honey bee enough to kill her. The stinger continues to contract by reflex action, continuously pumping venom into the wound for several seconds.

Thorax. The thorax is the middle part of the bee and is the anchor point for six legs (three pair), as well as two sets of membranous wings in the adult. Pollen baskets for carrying pollen back to the hive are located on the hind legs.

Wax Gland(s). Four pairs of glands that are specialized parts of the body wall, which during the wax forming period in the life of a worker, become greatly thickened and take on a glandular structure. The wax is discharged as a liquid and hardens to small flakes or scales and sits in wax pockets. The worker bee draws the wax scales out with the comb on the inside hind leg. The wax scale is then transferred to the mandibles where it is chewed into a compact, pliant mass. The beeswax is then added to the comb. After the worker bee outgrows the wax forming period, the glands degenerate and become a flat layer of cells.

Wing(s). The honey bee has two sets of flat, thin, membranous wings, strengthened by various veins. The fore wings are much larger than the hind wings, but the two wings of each side work together in flight. Just flapping the wings does not result in flight. The driving force results from a propeller-like twist given to each wing during the upstroke and the down stroke.