The Honey Bee, Apis mellifera, is recognizable by even the staunchest of insectaphobes. And the amount of information about them out there on the web is astounding. This is not a native insect to North America. It was brought over by the colonists because of its honey abilities. It is now widespread of course, but originated in Europe and Africa.

The Apis are the crowning pollinators of many of our important fruit trees. They have been hard hit the past twenty years by certain hive invaders like mites. Many of the orchards of the US are dependent on the patience of beekeepers.

These are workers in the fall at the end of their heavy work cycle. They overwinter and are all sterile females. The only fertile female is the queen who hangs out at the hive. This particular patch of mud was highly sought after. Note the drowning victim in the upper right. The bees were being very aggressive towards each other around this mud.

The first time I ever noticed them stealing nectar by piercing the long flower base of the Buckeye flowers. Several of them were doing this whereas the big wood boring bumbles were trying to take to the flower by the normal entrance. A lovely insect performing some non-pollenating work. They do pollinate a great many of our native plants and are in high demand among California orchards and almond growers.

The fall flowers of the Yellow Ironweed, Verbesina alternifolia, attracted everything along the Buffalo river, including all the local honey bees.  
The Seven Hollows trail on Petit Jean in Sept had several areas of 'high buzz' including this rock crevice where either a new colony was forming or a new colony was about to head for somewhere else. Some of these were carrying pollen so I think they were just doing their rock crevice entry business.