Honeybee or honey bee, which is correct?
This can be a confusing topic, as both “honeybee” and “honey bee” spellings are often found in many documents, articles and websites. So how do you know which is correct?
New York Post- The last honeybee refuge in the US is disappearing
ScienceDaily- Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees
King 5 News- Seattle’s oldest church to house new honey bee hives
National Geographic- Honeybee
National Geographic- 10 facts about honey bees
The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary spells it as one word, honeybee.
Entomologists use two words if the common name also describes the order to which an insect belongs. For example, house flies are true flies, so spelled with two words. Butterflies are not truly flies, thus spelled as one word. Yellowjackets are not yellow colored clothing, hence spelled as one word. Honey bees are true bees, and as such spelled as two words.
Another example, from Anatomy of the Honey Bee by R. E. Snodgrass, states that Honeybee is the equivalent to “Johnsmith”, while Honey Bee is akin to “John Smith”.
Honeybee is the layman’s spelling and customary in literature, while honey bee is the scientifically correct spelling.