Bees belong to a very large group of insects known as the Hymenoptera, which means “membrane wings”. Other well-known hymenopteran species are the ants and wasps. More than 150,000 species have been identified, although many additional species still need to be properly named and described. When we talk about honey bees, we typically refer to a species known as the Western or European honey bee.
Honey bees are a major contributor to agricultural production. About a third of every mouthful of food is pollinated by bees. In recent years the global honey bee population has dramatically declined and will have a significant impact on our food security. The decline of honey bees is the result of many factors, making this a complex issue.