A honey bee (or honeybee) is any member of the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests from wax. In the early 21st century, only seven species of honey bee are recognized, with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically six to eleven species are recognized. The best known honey bee is the Western honey bee which has been domesticated for honey production and crop pollination. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, including the stingless honey bees, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees. The study of bees, which includes the study of honey bees, is known as melittology.
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