European Dark Bee

The European Dark Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) is an insect and a sub-species of the Western Honeybee, also called the European Honeybee (Apis mellifera). It is also known as the German Black Bee or the German Dark Bee.  

The European Dark Bee has a head, thorax (chest), and abdomen (stomach) with a stinger. It has a brown-black abdomen with a few lighter spots on its abdomen. Its wings are transparent. It has six legs, and large eyes.

European Dark Bee

It grows to about 1-2 centimeters (half to one inch) long.

It is native to areas west of Russia to Northern Europe. 

It is diurnal, which means that it is active during the day, usually early in the morning. The European Dark Bee has many predators, such as birds, wasps, dragonflies, spiders, reptiles, frogs, bears, and other mammals.

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.

The European Dark Bee is a strong pollinator, visiting a wide range of flowers. Pollen is collected on their back legs in a pollen basket. 

It has four stages in its life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. 

[Location of photographs: Paris, France]

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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