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: Live in large hives with 20,000 to 80,000 individuals


  • Honey bees are considered extremely important for their pollination
  • Honey bees are not typically aggressive and will only sting when provoked
  • Visits an average of 50-100 flowers on foraging trips

Honey Bees in Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM

The honey bee is a social insect that lives in large colonies with populations ranging from 20,000 to 80,000 individuals. Honey bees are the only social bee or wasp that has a true perennial colony, surviving year after year. The honey bee has been named the most important insect on earth due to its role as a pollinator. In fact, 70% of the world’s agriculture depends exclusively on honey bees.

They are found all over the nation, and pollinate more than 100 types of crops. The two main types are Africanized honey bees and European honey bees. The latter is much more aggressive than the former and tends to cause issues in residential areas here in Santa Fe.

Honey Bee Habitat

Honey bees often build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys. Honey bees are most visible in summer and late spring, when new queens leave their old colonies along with thousands of workers to build new nests in tree hollows or crevices. At this time, 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, Africanized honey bees are extremely aggressive and may attack unprovoked when they are swarming.

Honey Bee Behavior & Threats

Honey bees can sting, but thankfully, they can only sting once. 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. 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.

If you notice honey bees swarming, always stay out of the way and never approach their hives. Always contact your local professionals for honey bee control.