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Honey bees are social insects in the family Apidae, order Hymenoptera. The most important species to humans is Apis millifera, the honey bee. Honey bees live in colonies or bee hives. Bees have two pairs of wings and compound eyes. Beekeepers make hives for the bees out of straw, pottery, or wooden boxes. Wild bees make their hives in hollow trees or logs or sometimes under the eaves of houses. Worker bees stand guard at the entrance of the hive, keeping out bees from other hives. Honey bees protect their hive by stinging intruders. Bees communicate with each other with pheromones. Pheromones are body chemicals that allow bees and other animals to talk to each other by smell. Bees smell pheromones and other scents with their antennae and can tell whether a bee is from the same hive, a worker, a queen bee, or is warning about danger. Bees can fight most honey robbers like skunks, bears, and wasps who come to raid the hive. When a honey bee stings, the barbs on the stinger get stuck in the victim, and the stinger is pulled out of the bee's body. The bee dies shortly after stinging. Queen bees however can sting many times and can pull their stinger out of the victim's skin. The honeycombs inside the hive are made up of small boxes called cells. The cells are six-sided or hexagons. They are tilted so that the honey does not flow out. All the cells together make up the comb. The comb is made from wax that bees make with their wax glands. The wax comes out from openings on the underside of the bee's abdomen. Bees forage thousands of flowers a day to gather nectar and pollen. Nectar and pollen are food for bees. Pollen is sometimes called bee bread. Nectar is a sweet liquid found inside flowers. The bee laps and sucks up nectar with her tube-like tongue and stores it in her honey stomach. The female worker bees make honey from nectar in the bee hive. Bees eat this honey in the winter when there is no food available from flowers. It takes more than 5,000 flower visits to make one teaspoon of honey. Honey bees also gather pollen grains from each flower they visit. The bee uses her hind legs to scrape off the pollen grains stuck to its abdomen and then presses them into the pollen basket on the hind leg. While gathering pollen, the honey bee also pollinates flowers as she accidentally carries pollen from flower to flower. When a pollen grain combines with a flower egg cell inside the flower, a seed begins to grow. Bees pollinate many crop plants—plants that give us food like oranges, apples and watermelons. Find science explorations and other good stuff for kids, parents, and teachers here: totallybuggin.com/ and here www.facebook.com/ Copyright 2013 KinderMagic.com