WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – ENCHANTED FOREST PARK, FL
Photograph of Honeybee taken in Enchanted Forest Park, North Miami, Florida using a Nikon d90 and Nikkor 60mm lens with polarizing filter.
One of the most familiar insects in the world is the Honeybee. This member of the insect order Hymenoptera plays a key role in the human and natural world. More has been written about honeybees than any other species of insect. The human fascination with this insect began thousands of years ago when people discovered what wonderfully tasty stuff honey is!
Honey is a thick liquid produced by certain types of bees from the nectar of flowers. While many species of insects consume nectar, honeybees refine and concentrate nectar to make honey. Indeed, they make lots of honey so they will have plenty of food for times when flower nectar is unavailable, such as winter. Unlike most insects, honeybees remain active through the winter, consuming and metabolizing honey in order to keep from freezing to death. Early humans probably watched bears and other mammals raid bee hives for honey and then tried it themselves. Once people found out what honey was, next they had to learn how to get it from the bees safely!
Honeybees have a bright color pattern to warn potential predators (or honey thieves!) that they have a weapon to defend themselves. Their weapon is a modified ovipositor (egg-laying tube). This is combined with a venom gland to create a stinger (formally known as an aculeus) located at the end of the abdomen. Because the stinger is modified from a structure found only in females, male bees cannot sting. When the hive is threatened, honeybees will swarm out and attack with their stingers to drive the enemy away.