hon·​ey·​bee | \ ˈhə-nē-ˌbē How to pronounce honeybee (audio) \
variants: or honey bee

Definition of honeybee

: a honey-producing bee (genus Apis of the family Apidae) especially : a European bee (A. mellifera) introduced worldwide and kept in hives for the honey it produces

Illustration of honeybee

Illustration of honeybee

honeybees, left to right: worker, queen, drone

Examples of honeybee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Owners outside with their pets should keep an eye out for foraging bees on flowers, swarms of bees, and beehives, especially if Africanized bees, a more aggressive version of the European honeybee, are present in their area. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "PET TALK: ‘Bee’ aware of insect stings this summer," 3 Aug. 2020 More formally, the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, has been spotted in the northwest part of the U.S. killing honeybee colonies and doling out insanely painful (and even life-threatening) stings to humans. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "How a Bill Gates-backed startup plans to save farming with A.I.," 26 June 2020 American honeybee colonies have bounced back after a bad year, the annual beekeeping survey finds. Seth Borenstein, USA TODAY, "Honeybees in America are doing better after a bad year, survey shows," 23 June 2020 According to the European Commission, insect pollinators—in particular, the honeybee—are an economic marvel, contributing 22 billion euros in value to Europe’s agriculture sector. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "From beekeepers to giant pension funds, activist shareholders are being silenced by the coronavirus," 6 June 2020 Japanese honeybees, which the hornets prey on, have an amazing group defense where dozens of them grab onto an invading hornet, forming a ball around it, and raise their temperature until the hornet dies. Dan Nosowitz, Better Homes & Gardens, "Fear of Asian Giant Hornets Threatens Helpful Bees and Wasps, Say Experts," 5 June 2020 Like all wasps and other hornets, and unlike honeybees, giant hornets have smooth stingers that allow them to attack repeatedly. Matt Alt, The New Yorker, "Do “Murder Hornets” Really Exist?," 13 May 2020 Still, the world's largest hornets do decapitate entire hives of honeybees, and that crucial food pollinator is already in big trouble. CBS News, "Forget "murder hornets," experts say — this is the real "murder insect"," 12 May 2020 And unlike honeybees, the Asian giant hornets can sting repeatedly, entomologist Chris Looney said in a video posted to the department's YouTube page last month. NBC News, "'Murder hornets', the Asian giant hornet, invasion becomes latest 2020 concern," 4 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'honeybee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of honeybee

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for honeybee

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The first known use of honeybee was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Honeybee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honeybee. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for honeybee


How to pronounce honeybee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of honeybee

: a bee that makes honey


hon·​ey·​bee | \ ˈhə-nē-ˌbē How to pronounce honeybee (audio) \

Kids Definition of honeybee

: a bee whose honey is used by people as food


hon·​ey·​bee | \ ˈhən-ē-ˌbē How to pronounce honeybee (audio) \

Medical Definition of honeybee

: a honey-producing bee (Apis and related genera) especially : a European bee (A. mellifera) introduced worldwide and kept in hives for the honey it produces

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More from Merriam-Webster on honeybee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with honeybee

Spanish Central: Translation of honeybee

Nglish: Translation of honeybee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about honeybee

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