Bees have been much in the media of recent, and for the scariest of reasons: their populations are in rapid decline throughout the U.S loss of habitat, climate change, chemicals, and farm-based agriculture. The loss of bees and other pollinators at risk could affect not only the world financial system but also risk its very ecology.
But not all bees are created equal: nearly 20,000 species have been identified, vary greatly in physical features, patterns of pollination, behaviors, and habitat. And while we can't be familiar with all of them, by considering two of the most popular variants: the bumblebee and the honeybee, we can take the first step.
Bumblebees are circular gooey; honeybees are smaller in size. In fact, mistaking them for wasps would be easy. And while honeybees have a sharp distinction between the head and the abdomen, but "all of one piece" are bumblebees. Honeybees also have 2 main wing sets: a larger set in the front and a smaller pair in the rear.
|Honey bee vs Bumblebee|
But it's in the setting where their differences are most clearly defined. Hyper-social honeybees live with tens of millions of their members in hives: such hives may either be domesticated colonies housed in hollow trees by beekeepers or wild ones. They are honey producers, as their name implies, and their long-lived communities survive the winter intact. In fact, the queen will live for around two to three years.
Bumblebees are also social, but not to the same level. Bumblebees live in nests with up to a few hundred other bees, where honeybees establish hives. These nests are found solely in the forest (no domesticated bumblebees) and can sometimes be located in holes in the ground or dirt holes. In reality, the queen, who is the only surviving winter representative of a bumblebee colony, went into hibernation in the ground. Bumblebees are not producers of honey or, rather, what they generate in the nest is for self-consumption.
Of the two classes, the superior pollinators are bumblebees. The explanation for this is highly practical: since there are more bumblebee species, there is a greater range of tongue lengths and, thus, the sorts of flowers from which they eat. They are quick workers and can bear heavier loads because of their larger structures.
Bumblebees are excellent at exploring how to collect pollen and can also specialize in certain plants from various flowers. And this greater versatility makes them skilled at cross-pollination, which for fruit trees is especially important. In addition, environmental conditions such as cold, rain, and reduced light have less effect on bumblebees.
Coordination is the only benefit honeybees have: they start performing a dance to let their fellow workers know where good pollen supplies can be found! While this is great for their community and production of honey, in respect of pollination, it may potentially be a drawback. Although honeybees hurry off to harvest a certain origin of pollen, bumblebees stick around, working an extensive area calmly until it is completely pollinated.
One additional difference: before dying, honeybees will only bite once. Bumblebees can bite several times, but when genuinely angered, they may not form hordes like honeybees, but they only bite.
Both types of bees are harmless enough just to accommodate in your backyard, so take reasonable care and do not let the fear of stings stop you from growing wildflowers to attract bees and reverse habitat loss for decades. You can either do this by the use of seed balls in your own backyard or in unsupervised areas. Not only can you help save our endangered bees, but you will also be able to understand their differences on your own.