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Honey bees (or honeybees) are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honeybees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, there are only seven recognized species of the honeybee with 44 subspecies, though historically, anywhere from six to eleven species have been recognized. Honeybees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honeybees.
As in a few other types of eusocial bees, a colony generally contains one queen bee, a fertile female; seasonally up to a few thousand drone bees or fertile males; and a large seasonally variable population of sterile female worker bees. Details vary among the different species of honey bees, but common features include:
All honey bees live in colonies where the workers will sting intruders as a form of defense, and alarmed bees will release a pheromone that stimulates the attack response in other bees. The different species of honey bees are distinguished from all other bee species (and virtually all other Hymenoptera) by the possession of small barbs on the sting, but these barbs are found only in the worker bees. The sting and associated venom sac of honey bees are also modified so as to pull free of the body once lodged (autotomy), and the sting apparatus has its own musculature and ganglion, which allow it to keep delivering venom once detached. The worker dies after the sting is torn from its body. Despite common belief, it is the only species of bee to die after stinging. [clarification needed] But if left undisturbed, after stinging through human skin, for example, a honey bee will slowly rotate, effectively unscrewing its sting, and fly away intact.
Bees are one of the hardest-working creatures on the planet. Working incessantly for their queen to keep the colony active, bees never stop moving and producing, cleaning and building. While most sightings can go smoothly, a bad encounter with an angry swarm of interrupted or threatened bees can be deadly.
Bee swarms are common close to a hive. They buzz around collecting nectar from nearby flowers and bring it back to the colony.
It is important to remember bees are not out to attack people. They generally just buzz on by while foraging for pollen. They do not mind being in close proximity to humans as long as they are not bothered.
To avoid getting attacked by bees, one should never swat or threaten a bee. The reason for some swarm of bee attacks is due to the release of a pheromone a threatened bee will emit. This pheromone sends a distress signal to all other bees in the area and will attract the whole swarm to come in and defend them.
The most common reason a swarm of bees attacks would be if their hive is threatened. Under no circumstances should anyone who is not a professional come close to a beehive. A whole swarm of defensive bees may attack if their home feels threatened. All the bees in a hive answer to their queen, and since she lives in the hive, a swarm will attack anyone who comes too close for comfort.
The bottom line and best advice to avoid a swarm of bees attack are to never make a bee feel threatened. Bees attack in swarms because they are a loyal team with one goal, and that is to make the queen happy.