Honeybees are a sub-species of insect (Insecta) commonly recognized in many parts of the world. One of their most predominant characteristics is the creation of societies with class systems, like many mammals, ants, and wasps. Additionally, honey bees are known for their intricate honeycomb nests, which are one of the few naturally occurring phenomenon in insects' humans have failed to map out the origin of (spider webs being the other). Honey bees, especially European honeybees, are one of the most recognized insects internationally. Almost every country with human activity has had a relationship with honeybees due to their desire for the "gold standard of food": honey. Just to smear it on their daily bread with a honey spoon.
Honey Bee Habitat:
Honeybees, in different sub-species of the name, are found through 6 of the 7 continents of the world—Antarctica is the only continent lacking their presence. It is important to note, however, that Antarctica has not been fully surveyed yet and there might be a potential for their existence. Contrasting that statement, honey bees have traditionally enjoyed warm weather. Although they are hardy and capable of surviving winters by freezing, then unfreezing, they generally only come out during warm seasons in areas that have drastically changing climates, such as Europe and North America. Honey bees of all kinds are also extremely phobic of water. Honey Bess tend to live in areas with high rates of vegetation but build their nests in areas that are not directly hit by water (such as in trees, in logs, or in caves).
Honeybee natural habitats have recently been infringed by human activity on all continents where they are present. Scientists, therefore predict a steady decline in honey bee populations and eventual extinction.
Queen Honey Bee:
Honey bee colonies are made up of one queen and thousands of drones. As with wasps and ants, the drones actively go scouring for food while the queen stays in the nest. The queen's only purpose is to create more drone. When the queen dies, one female is re-designated the new "queen" and is coated in royal jelly. When she maturates, she begins to, once again, mass-produce offspring.
If the queen is ever ill or damaged, the whole swarm will mass on her and rub her until she is cooked to death. It is a nasty thing of life, but perhaps the laws set forth by Charles Darwin prevail the best in the honey bee populations.
Honey Bee Keeping:
Beekeeping is a profession as old as humanity itself. Perhaps 10,000 years ago, humans attacked honey bee nests to gather the honey. However, the stinging, which could be fatal, proved too great of a risk for such a small reward. When humans discovered fore, however, they learned that smoking the bees put them into a sort of "trance" where aggression levels dropped or disappeared. Hence, the art of beekeeping was born.
Today's modern bee-keepers still use the technique of smoking bees to disorient them. However, today's bee-keepers come prepared with practically (although not completely) sting-proof suits. Bees are regularly kept at bee farms to mass-produce honey for public consumption. The nests are gassed with smoke, the honey is collected, and the farmers allow the bees to continue their daily activity. In return, the farms plant a plethora of nice flowering plants for the bees to produce different flavored types of honey. The bees certainly don't seem to mind living in these Gardens of Eden without the threat of predators waiting to pounce on their larvae.
If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, you need to purchase a decent portion of land for your bees, know which flowers will provide them the best resource so they don't have to wander away from your farm , consider using greenhouses if you live an area with diverse weather conditions (cold winters, hot summers), and always seek advice from professional consultants prior to trying anything yourself. Bees can be lethal if not handled correctly, even if you are wearing a bee suit.
Where To Get Honey Bees:
Honey bees are best gotten from local farms. Transportation for a queen bee can be a death sentence if done so over long distances. As with the advice above, the best advice here is to seek guidance from an expert in the field. Failure to do so can result in injury or death.
Not to be discouraged, however, with the proper training it is a very easy and enjoyable way to make fresh honey, and even some money. The current "fair market value" for honey has increased from 4$ per pound to 7.50$ per pound. That is almost a 100% increase in the past 10 years. This may be due to the extinction forecast, but from a business standpoint, this is a very good industry to get into.
Africanized Honey Bee:
In the mid-1900's farmers in Brazil and other parts of Southern America began experiments involving the breeding of European honey bees with African wild bees. The idea behind it was to create a species of bee that would produce greater yields of honey and be more immune to the potential detriments of nature. For the most part, the experiment was a success. The bees did do better in nature. However, they did not produce nearly as much honey as traditional European honeybees. And on the contrary, they produced almost no surplus.
Africanize honeybees became a world issue when they began popping up in the backyards of Texans and new Mexicans. A man in Phoenix was killed by a swarm of Africanized bees.Then things deteriorated further, they began popping up in Illinois, and even Michigan. This genetic experiment had become, like rats, an invasive species with no predators. The only thing that keeps them from moving further north (into Canada) is the brutal winters, which luckily, they are very poor at handling.
Africanized honey bees are not suggested for beekeepers and can penetrate most standard bee suits. To deal with them directly, it is advised to contact a professional, who will likely deal with them using a wasp suit.
American Killer Bees:
American killer bees do not exist. They are a myth. The closest thing in a search on "American killer bees" was a link to a kickboxing gym. Yes, the American killer bees are a martial arts training center located in Melbourne, Florida.
Bee removal should be held to the same standard as beekeeping. Bee removal is the permanent removal or relocation of bees from one area to another.
Removal can involve the use of insecticides. These are poisons that will kill bee colonies and subsequently leave behind teratogenic toxins that can be inhaled by people, which are known carcinogens. This method is only suggested if the bees have entered the home and dug into the walls. In any case, it is likely the worst and most dangerous method of getting rid of bees. The toxins, known as insecticides or pesticides, are extremely toxic to people and can kill you through breathing or even through contact with the skin (over long periods of exposure).Not to mention, honey bees are going extinct, killing them won't help the problem.
The best course of action is hiring professional bee-relocators to relocate the bees to a different area. This is done by some bee farms free of charge. This method is ecological, doesn't leave behind any carcinogenic poisons, and doesn't weigh on your conscience. This is the preferred method.
A hint of advice on bee removal: don't do it yourself! Always seek professionals!