black honeybee on a flower

7 Facts About Solid Black Honeybees

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Honey bees are traditionally yellow and black but, genetic variation means that sometimes you will see all black members, these bees are otherwise just the same as regular bees.

black honeybee
  1. Black honeybees have five eyes; a pair of compound eyes and three simple eyes.
  2. Honeybees are always clean and will always want their hives sparkling clean at all times.
  3. They are not the only insects that make honey but they are the only ones to do it in a quantity that makes sense for farming/harvesting.
  4. Just like the rest of us that spend all day working, honey bees need their sleep. They get between 5 – 8 hours of sleep each day.
  5. They do not die during the cold seasons. However, they throw out the old, weak drones. They then feed on the available honey which also keeps them warm.
  6. Their wings stroke 11,400 times every minute.
  7. Each of their colonies has a unique smell which helps them identify their members.

What Type of Bees Can Be All Black?

Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees

They are known for boring into wood in order to make their galleries for bringing up their young ones. They are majorly black but other species may have green or purple color. The females have black faces whereas the male ones have yellow faces with white dots on the head.

Leaf cutting bees

Leaf cutting bees

Just as their name implies, they cut leaves from plants and use them to construct nests. The nests are cigar-like and contain several cells. Each cell has a single egg and pollen stored in balls.

They are medium in size with stout bodies.

Mining bees

Mining bees

Their females are black in color and have two grey bands across the thorax. The females are black, with two broad grey hair bands across the thorax.

Honeybees

Honeybees

Due to the amazing power of genetics, it is rare, though possible for a honeybee to be all black in color. The Carniolan honey bee is one such member that is commonly mostly black, though you will generally still see tinges of yellow.

What Is a Black Honeybee?

Black honeybees, Apis mellifera, are social, flying insects that produce honey from nectar. They are grouped under the family Apidae and order Hymenoptera.

The western honey bee and the eastern honey bee are the most common honeybees. The western honey bees are domesticated for crop pollination and honey production.  

Black Honeybee flying

They have a pair of compound eyes and three simple eyes found on the top of the head.

Most all black honeybees are Western honeybees, which actually originate in Europe!

Types of Black Honey Bees

There are three types of bees in any hive; the drones, the queen bees and the worker bees.

  • The queen bees- they are the female bees that reproduce.
  • The worker bees- they are all females and are offspring of the queen bees.
  • Drones- they are male bees.

Where Do They Come From?

They are known to originate from the eastern tropical Africa and moved to Europe and Asia to the Tian Shan range.

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They are commonly called the European, the western, or the common honey bees globally.

Where Can They Be Found?

Black honeybees dwell in tropical climates and areas that are densely forested. Honeybees can also dwell in both domesticated and natural environments.

Honeybees on top of flower

However, they prefer living in gardens, meadows, orchards, and woodlands. In natural environments, they build nests on trees to hide from predators.

These bees are not restricted to one region. Since they are known to produce honey consumed by humans, these bees are found worldwide in both natural and domesticated habitats. 

Why Are Some Honey Bees Black and Others Normal Colored?

The difference in color arises due to strong colonies with good genetic material and inheritance. Different colors in a hive indicate that the colony queen has mated multiple time and that the hive has a good genetic variation.

Before the queen bee starts to lay eggs, she mates several times. Sperms from different drones are mixed together in a spermatheca to produce worker bees (offspring).

Each female bee will get half of her genetic material from the drone (the father) and the other half from the queen bee (the mother).

The subfamilies will have the same mother but different fathers. The worker bees will be much of half-siblings that is, different fathers but one mother. However, all bees having the same mother and father will look alike even though they might not be identical.

The offspring might not be identical because genes from the mothers who have two sets of chromosomes will sort out differently when she is producing eggs which have one set of chromosome. The genes of the fathers will always be similar because he has only one set of chromosomes.

On the other hand, bees that belong to different subfamilies will not be identical because the fathers are different even though the mother is the same. These bees have many traits that are unnoticed but color is visible hence the differences in their body colors.

Do Black Bees Make Honey?    

black bees

Black bees make honey for their own food though they do not make a lot of honey.

It is important to note that black bees are not necessarily honeybees. The carpenter bee, for example, is an all-black bee that does make honey but only in very small quantities.

In cold seasons, they need all their honey to get through the season.

Note that there are very many bee species but only honey bees make enough honey to be useful to us for food.

Do Black Bees Make Black Honey?

Less information is known about black honey and the bees that manufacture it. There are few research works about black honey. However, black honey is linked to black honey bees.

Do Black Honey Bees Sting?

Black Honey Bees Sting

Yes! A black honey bee is able to sting. The stinging is for self-protection or to protect the hive from any threat. The hives contain the young bees, the queen bees and honey.

Black honey bees that are out and about will not sting if they are far away from their hives. They could be in search of nectar. However, if you accidentally or intentionally, they will perceive you as a threat and sting. They have stingers that defend them from any danger.

Conclusion

There are over 20,000 bee species globally. However, not all bees are meant for honey production. Bees that are meant for honey production are the honeybees.

When roughly handled, bees will sting as a defense mechanism. However, not all bees are equipped with stingers for defense against predators.

One thing to note is that bees will not sting at all times especially when they are away from their hives. They are likely to be out in search of nectar unless they are provoked.

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