From bumblebees to carpenter bees to mason bees, there are over 20,000 different species of bees in the world, the vast majority of which are wild. However, less than ten of these are honey bee species, with over 40 honey bee subspecies buzzing around the world.
Honey bees are close relatives of ants and wasps. And they can be found on every continent except Antarctica, which is devoid of flowering plants and therefore of no interest to little guys.
The fuzzy black and yellow insects live in colonies made up of three types of bees: queen bees, workers, and drones, the latter of which are males. Although worker bees are female, they are sexually underdeveloped. Thus, only the queen bee is responsible for procreation.
Despite their small size, honey bees are an incredibly important keystone species. Tiny flying insects are probably best known for their ability to make honey. But that’s not all they are good at.
In honor of National Bee Day, celebrated annually on the third Saturday in August, here are five reasons we’re absolutely buzzing for bees.