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Honey Bee

Honey Bee

Common Name:
Honey Bee
Scientific Name:
Apis mellifera
  • Caves and Subterranean
  • Desert
  • Forest
  • Grassland
  • Rocky Areas
  • Savanna
  • Shrubland
  • Wetlands
0.6 in
Life Span:
1 yrs
Number of Young:
1,500 eggs per day
0.25 oz

Did you know honey bees use their wings to fan drops of water on the hive floor to air condition their home? Learn more about honey bees. 

Care & Wellness:

The honey bee hive allows guests to observe a bee hive and learn about their behaviors while seeing them in a safe, natural setting. The bees use native plants throughout the Zoo to gather nectar and pollen. The Zoo has also planted some bee-friendly plants in the area. 


Insect populations are declining across the world. One iconic species that have suffered steep declines in recent decades is the monarch butterfly. One of the reasons for these declines is a lack of food and shelter during their annual journey between the northern United States and Mexico. To support migratory monarchs during their annual migration, the North Carolina Zoo has set up several Monarch  Waystations. The Zoo’s Waystations were carefully planned to support the monarchs through all their life stages. The Zoo is currently experimenting with different plant mixes to better understand which plants are most liked by the monarchs, as well as other pollinating insects visiting the Zoo grounds. You can read more about the Zoo’s work on wild pollinators below, under related resources.

  • Honey bees live in hives and each bee has a job.
  • A hive has only one queen bee. Her job is to lay eggs.
  • All worker bees are female. Male honey bees are called drones.
  • Their barbed stinger remains in the animal or person stung, so that the bee can only sting once and then dies.
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)
Fun Facts:
  • Life span varies with the bee's job. Queens live the longest at three to five years. Workers live two to four months. Drones (the males) only live a maximum of 90 days - and less if they breed!
  • Every hive has a dance floor. When a worker finds a new field of flowers, she does a special dance (the "waggle dance") to show the others where, and how far away, the blossoms are.
  • Using their wings, workers fan drops of water on the hive floor to air condition their home in summer.
  • Honey bees pollinate many of our foods, such as apples, watermelons and, yes, broccoli. Without bees we would lose many of the foods we enjoy today.
  • Honey bees were brought to America from Europe by the early settlers.
  • They have made honey from flowering plants for 10 to 12 million years.
A western honey bee perched on a leaf.