I am a honeybee, one of four Apis species. As a honeybee, I am often confused with bumblebees, however, I am not as big and cuddly as they are. Most of the other types of bees do not live in hives or nests but actually live a solitary life. However, we all have one thing in common and that is, we are pollinators.

While we have that one thing in common, pollination, we are different in many ways. As honeybees, we live like a family, all of us working together for each other’s benefit.

Despite our short life, we achieve a lot. I, like my sisters prefer going out to work when the temperatures are warm and the nectar flow is good. We are also a bit fussy as to the sugar concentration in the nectar.

We see the bumblebees at work early and late, even though it could be cold.

Food collection takes up a lot of my time. Crawling across stamens and pistils in flowers to get some nectar can be hard work. I may not have a tongue as long as the bumblebee but I can reach the nectar in many flowers. To some, it may seem boring that I spend my day visiting the same type of flowers. Sure, if I didn’t do it, how else would they become pollinated and produce seeds.

Jobs for everyone

Some of our family have to collect water, especially during very warm weather to keep our home cool. Others of us collect propolis from tree buds, which we use to seal up the gaping cracks in our home.

My young sisters have to keep everywhere clean and even have to polish honeycomb cells for mammy, whom we call our queen. All in all, the work never stops. OK, we take short breaks and twiddle our toes for a while and then it is back to work.

My sisters and I have noticed that it is getting more difficult to get proper nutritious food. Variety is the spice of life.

Many of the flowers my ancestors used to visit don’t seem to be around these days. It can be frustrating trying to find enough of the right type of flowers to get our nectar and pollen.

Uninvited guest

Our home is often crowded with uninvited guests, the varroa mites. I don’t like it when they hitch onto my back and more so when they bite and suck my blood.

The worst part is, when they rear their babies in the cells of the honeycomb alongside my sisters (worker bees) and brothers (drones). Those varroa mites bite them in the cells for their own benefit, just so that they can reproduce their own kind. My life is short enough without being wrecked by these free-loaders.

Some days I am unable to function properly. I blame our food. Our beekeeper is not a doctor but she does her best to give us some relief. I am not sure if my stomach is the main problem. We honeybees have a very limited gut microbiome so our digestive system could easily be wrecked.

Our beekeeper is of the opinion that a combination of pesticides can affect our gut more so than any single one. Anyway, I am boring you with my medical problems. Right now my sisters, mom and I are snuggling up for a few months.

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