Apis mellifica Linnaeus, 1761
The western honey bee or European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bee worldwide. The genus name Apis is Latin for "bee", and mellifera is the Latin for "honey-bearing", referring to the species' production of honey for the winter.
Like all honey bees, the western honey bee is eusocial, creating colonies with a single fertile female (or "queen"), many sterile females or "workers," and small proportion of fertile males or "drones." Individual colonies can house tens of thousands of bees. Colony activities are organized by complex communication between individuals, through both pheromones and the dance language.
The western honey bee was one of the first domesticated insects, and it is the primary species maintained by beekeepers to this day for both its honey production and pollination activities. With human assistance, the western honey bee now occupies every continent except Antarctica. Because of its wide cultivation, this species is the single most important pollinator for agriculture globally. Honey bees are threatened by pests and diseases, especially the varroa mite and colony collapse disorder.
Western honey bees are an important model organism in scientific studies, particularly in the fields of social evolution, learning, and memory; they are also used in studies of pesticide toxicity, to assess non-target impacts of commercial pesticides.