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A Bee's Life

Bees at Work

Bees have a fascinating life cycle that begins with the queen bee laying eggs in the comb of the hive. The eggs hatch into larvae, which are fed a substance called royal jelly. As the larvae grow, they spin cocoons and transform into pupae. After some time, adult bees emerge from the cocoons and begin their roles within the colony. The queen bee is responsible for laying eggs and maintaining the colony's population, while worker bees gather nectar and pollen, care for the young, and defend the hive. Within a bee colony, male bees, also referred to as drones, possess the distinct responsibility of mating with the queen bee. Their sole purpose is to mate with the queen and contribute to the continuation of the colony's genetic diversity. Unlike their female counterparts, drones do not have any other crucial duties within the bee colony. This cycle continues throughout the life of the colony, with bees working together to maintain the health and productivity of the hive. 

Types of Bees in FL  

#1. Bumblebees/Bombus
Bumblebees are easily identifiable by their fuzzy hair with black and yellow stripes. They have a large, round body with a pointed head. While they do not produce honey, they have a critical role as pollinators for fruit and vegetable crops. Bumblebees feed on nectar from flowering plants and gather pollen to nourish their offspring.

#2. European (Western) Honey Bees/Apis mellifera
The bees in this group have a range of colors, but most are amber to brown. They have mid-size bodies with hair on the midsection. If you enjoy honey, you should thank this group of bees because they are the only ones that produce it!

#3. Large Carpenter Bees/Xylocopa
The Large Carpenter Bee has a shiny black body with yellow on its midsection and is about the same size as a bumblebee. These bees play a crucial role in plant growth; it would be almost impossible without them.

#4 Small Carpenter Bees/Ceratina
Small Carpenter Bees have a forest green to blueish-black color and are slimmer in the body compared to their larger counterparts, the Large Carpenter Bees. These bees have a unique characteristic where some females cohabitate with each other. Some of the females are capable of producing offspring without males through genetic cloning.

#5 Long-Horned Bees/Eucerini
Long-Horned Bees come in various colors like tan, grey, and black. Eucerini have very fuzzy bodies. The males of this species have elongated antennae, which is why they are called Long-Horned Bees. Florida is home to up to 30 different species of these bees.

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