Group Of Bees: What Is It Called And What Should You Know About Them?

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Mar 11, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Nov 19, 2021
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
Close up group of bees on a daisy flower
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.0 Min

Bee is the common name used to indicate some wasp-like flying insects.

Some bee species live together, while some live in solitude. There are many species of bees, and each species has distinctive living conditions from each other.

A group of bees is called a colony in general. When they fly from one place to another, the collective noun used for identifying them is a swarm. The bee colonies live by forming nests, and such a nest is referred to as a beehive. Therefore, sometimes the bees in a hive are also collectively known as a hive of bees.

The social structure formed by bees is highly developed, and each individual of a colony has a specific role in the community. Bees are biologically intended to swarm in a large colony outside the hive at least once a year. Swarming generally takes place in the spring season and is initiated by the queen bee. 60% of the worker bees and a few drones of the previous hive follow her. Swarming occurs when the hives become overcrowded by next-generation pollinators and a stacked supply of nectar for the winter hibernation. In bee colonies, the worker bees perform all the crucial tasks except laying eggs. The queen and the drones are only there to mate and spawn a new generation. The honey produced by honey bees is an important and rich food source in all parts of the world.

If you enjoy reading this article, then do check out group of butterflies and Ivy Bee here on Kidadl.

What is a group of bees called?

Bees are a type of insect; they are commonly found all over the world. The common collective nouns used to define groups of bees are a colony, hive, and swarm.

Some families of bees are social and live by forming groups, while some are solitary. The solitary bee constructs a nest for itself and lives there alone. However, the social bees are at the highest level of organization of sociality and are said to be eusocial. A group of bees is known as a colony or a swarm. A beehive is a structure constructed by bees in which they live in family groups and produce honey. Therefore, a colony of bees that live in a hive is also collectively known as a hive of bees. In the season, a well-developed beehive can shelter a colony of 60,000 bees.

Why might you see a group of bees?

The natural swarming process occurs when a colony of bees changes its hive to establish a new colony. They are observed to fly in a swarm when they change their hive. Overcrowding in the established hives and the gradual cramping due to the eggs laid by the queen bee propagates the bees to fly in groups and establish a new colony. Generally, two colonies are formed from one when a swarm changes hives.

In search of a new space, the queen abandons the previous nest with 60% members. They fly around for a brief period of time and finally form a stationary cluster on a tree limb. During this time, the scout worker bees search for a suitable location to establish the new colonies. On spotting a new site, the stationary cluster breaks, and all of them fly to it. It is natural to spot swarms of bees during such times in exposed places, but a bee swarm is very docile, and they move completely by 72 hours.

Group of bees near a beehive

Different Types Of Bee In A Hive

Beehives mainly consist of three types of bees: the queen bee or the mother of the colony, the drone bees or the male bees that are meant to mate with the queen, and the sterile worker bees that perform all the chores of the hive. Each member of the colony is bestowed with different responsibilities to maintain a healthy social structure.

The queen bee is the one who runs the hives, her sole duty in the colony is to mate and lay eggs to spawn the next generation of bees. It is the birth giver of the hive; it is the only fertile female of the colony. The queen is characterized by a more elongated and conical abdomen and shorter wings. It can produce a pheromone that guides the behavior of other bees. The male or the drone is smaller in comparison to the queen but is larger than the workers. The drones do not have the sting; their only purpose is to mate with the queen so that she can lay eggs.

In winter, when honey becomes scarce, the queen sometimes forces the drones out of the nest. The workers are responsible for feeding, stacking honey, protecting the eggs, producing honey and wax. The workers also clean the cells and repair the combs. The workers fly in a swarm around the comb to protect it from predators. When changing colonies, the workers scout a new location, and the rest of the hive follow.

Why are honey bees crucial for the ecosystem?

No matter how noisy a honey bee might appear, in reality, they are all crucial for maintaining our ecosystem. Like all other nectar sucking insects, a honey bee is also a vital pollinator. They can maintain a stable food supply for all kinds of animals and help plants to grow.

While talking about the importance of the honey bees, it should be mentioned that only worker bees are involved in these activities that support the well-being of the environment. A worker bee is the one that facilitates pollination when it gathers food for the hives. They also help the flowers to grow by transferring pollen from one plant to another. Again a worker honey bee must produce honey and wax in the hives. The hives of honey bees also act as a shelter to many other insect species, so they also help form wildlife habitats.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for group of bees, then why not take a look at Hairy-footed flower bee or Huhu Beetle.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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