The Italian Honey Bee (Apis mellifera ligustica) is a small insect. It is also known as the Italian Bee or the Ligurian Bee. It is a sub-species of the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera), which is also called the Western Honey Bee. It is a pollinator because it collects pollen from flowers.
The Italian Honey Bee has a head, thorax (chest), and abdomen with a stinger. It has a brown abdomen with yellow bands. Its wings are transparent. It has six legs, and large eyes.
It grows to about 1-2 centimeters (half to one inch) long.
The Italian Honey Bee is native to Europe, particularly Italy. It prefers warmer climates.
It is diurnal, which means that it is active during the day, usually early in the morning.
It is eusocial, which means that it lives in large perennial (lifetime) colonies and hives, of 40,000-80,000 individuals, comprising one large, egg-laying queen bee, male drones (without stingers), and lots of worker bees (mostly infertile females with stingers).
The worker bees are the only bees that gather pollen and nectar from plants. This is called foraging. Pollen is collected on their back legs in a pollen basket. The Italian Honey Bee needs an internal body temperature of 35 °C (95 °F) to fly. The optimal air temperature for the worker bees to forage for nectar is 22–25 °C (72–77 °F).
The bees drink nectar (flower juice) and store it in their stomachs. Worker bees process the nectar from flowers, transforming it into honey.
The Italian Honey Bee has many predators, such as birds, wasps, dragonflies, spiders, reptiles, frogs, bears, and other mammals.
It has four stages in its life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
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