Bees are important because they pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the US including fruit, fiber, nut, and vegetable crops. Bee pollination adds approximately 14 billion dollars annually to improved crop yield and quality.
Q: Is honeybee one word or two?
A: Many people notice that dictionaries list "honeybee" as one word. However, entomologists use the two-word naming convention "honey bee." Both are correct!
Origin and Distribution:
There are about 9 different known species of bees that make honey. The most commonly recognized honey bee species, Apis mellifera Linnaeus, is native to Africa and Europe, and subdivided into about 24 subspecies.
Presently, the European honey bee is distributed worldwide as a result of human dissemination. Honey bees are not native to the Americas but were introduced by European settlers. The first introductions are believed to have occurred in the early to mid 1600s by English and Spanish settlers. Subsequent introductions occurred from 1859 to 1922 when beekeepers actively imported a number of different European subspecies.
A final introduction occurred in 1956 in Brazil with the release of an African subspecies Apis mellifera scutellata, the African bee. This subspecies is native to the savannah of eastern and southern South Africa and was imported to Brazil in the hope that a tropically adapted honey bee would be a better honey producer in tropical Brazil. The African bee is naturally more defensive than European subspecies such that African bees are more likely to respond to disturbances by stinging perceived predators.
Subsequent to its release, African bees mated with European bees producing a hybrid called the Africanized bee. The Africanized bee is sometimes called the "killer bee" due to its highly defensive stinging behavior. The first Africanized colony to reach the U.S. was detected in Hildalgo, Texas, 34 years after their initial release in Brazil. Today Africanized bees are distributed throughout Texas and Arizona and in southern regions of New Mexico and California.