Despite being called the European honey bee Apis mellifera is also native to Africa and Asia. The name of the European honey bee is a result of European colonization. Settlers brought honey bees with them for their pollination services and ability to produce honey. Today, the European honey bee is found on all continents except Antarctica.
Honey bees are social insects that live in colonies. Each colony can consist of up to 80,000 individuals that belong to three different castes: the queen, workers and drones. The queen and the workers are female, while the drones are male. Each colony has a single queen who is responsible for producing all of the honey bees in a hive and determines the sex of the bee through fertilization. If she wants to create a female, she fertilizes the egg. If the queen needs to produce a male drone, she does not fertilize the egg.