From bumblebees to carpenter bees and mason bees, there are more than 20,000 different bee species around the world, the vast majority of which are wild. However, fewer than ten of these are honey bee species, with more than 40 honey bee subspecies buzzing about across the globe.
Honey bees are close relatives of ants and wasps. And they can be found on every continent except Antarctica, which is void of flowering plants and therefore of no interest to the little guys.
The fuzzy black and yellow insects live in colonies made up of three types of bees: the queen bee, worker bees, and drones, the latter of which are male. Although the worker bees are female, they are sexually undeveloped. Thus, only the queen bee is responsible for procreating.
Despite their meager size, honey bees are an incredibly important keystone species. The tiny, flying insects are probably best known for their ability to make honey. But that’s not all that they’re good for.
In honor of National Honey Bee Day, celebrated annually on the third Saturday in August, here are five reasons why we’re absolutely buzzing for honey bees.