Honey Bee

Actual Size: 1/2″

Characteristics: Golden brown and black with pale orange or yellow bands on their abdomen.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Social insects that live in hives with 20,000 to 80,000 individuals


  • During the winter, honey bee populations lay dormant
  • In the summertime, worker honey bees live for only about 5-7 weeks
  • Their stings can hurt and cause swelling at the sting site, followed by itching sensations

Honey Bees in Eastern Tennessee

The honey bee is one of the most common types of bees in the nation and in Eastern Tennessee. They are active pollinators that, true to name, produce honey. A honey bee colony can survive for years. They are found all across the nation and pollinate more than 100 types of crops. The two main types of honey bees in the nation are Africanized honey bees and European honey bees. The Africanized honey bee is known to be much more aggressive than the European honey bee. Queen honey bees are larger than the male honey bees, which are known as drones. Honey bees will swarm when the colony becomes too large for its hive.

Honey Bee Habitat

Honey bees can build their nests in a variety of places: tree crevices, attics, chimneys, and more. These bees are most visible in the summertime and late spring. This is when new queen bees leave their old colonies with thousands of worked to build a new nest. It is during this time when large groups of bees can be seen swarming together to find a new nesting place. It takes a swarm approximately 24 hours to locate a new nesting site. While most swarms are harmless, certain species of bees, like the Africanized honey bee, are extremely aggressive and may attack or sting people even when they’re unprovoked.

Honey Bee Behavior & Stings

Honey bees are a type of bee that can sting. However, they can only sting once before they lose their stinger. Only female workers are capable of stinging, and are not likely to sting when foraging for nectar and pollen in the backyard. Bee stings generally happen when these docile bees are provoked or accidentally crushed.

When you are stung, the stinger of the honey bee, having barbs, will remain in the skin unless physically removed. The method of removing the stinger, either grasping with fingers, tweezers or scraping from the skin, is not as important as removing the stinger as quickly as possible. Honey bee stings are quite painful and even life threatening to a small percentage of people who are allergic to the venom. In any case, it’s important to always contact a professional bee control expert when you need help with honey bees.