Bees can come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. There are hundreds of different species of bees, most of which the average person probably has never heard of. These different bees do different things and serve different purposes. The three you are likely most aware of are honeybees, bumblebees and wasps. What do each of these do, and how are they different from each other?
All bees are amazing creatures, but especially honeybees. There are different types of honeybees: worker bees, drones and queen bees. Worker bees are female and drones are male. Worker bees do what their name suggests: most of the work. They are the bees you see on your flowers and in your yard, collecting and distributing pollen and nectar. They feed and clean the hive, protect it and make honey. Drone bees don’t do much work around or outside of the hive, but they do mate with the queen bee. Their purpose is mainly for reproduction. The queen bee’s main purpose is also reproduction. She lays thousands of eggs each honey production season. She also releases scents that unite the colony and keep everything in order. They each have a different purpose, but they all work together to make everything operate smoothly.
Beekeepers typically keep honeybees. It is not very common to hear of a beekeeper who works with other species of bees. Honeybees are relatively easy to work with and keep. They provide a lot of benefits to beekeepers and the beekeepers in turn can provide benefits for the bees.
Bumblebees play a vital role in the pollination of plants. They have the ability to sting, but they do not sting as often as honeybees would or other bees you may view as “aggressive.” The tails of bumblebees can be different colors, which helps separate them into different groups. There are white-tailed bumblebees, red-tailed bumblebees and uniform-tailed bumblebees.
One of the main differences between honeybees and bumblebees are a member of the bombus genus family and honeybees are a member of the apis family. Both, however, are members of the Apidae family. It is usually easy to tell the two apart; honeybees are smaller and bumblebees are more round-bodied and have fuzz all over.
Wasps oftentimes are seen as quite “scary” and aggressive. They have stingers and are known to sting when they feel they need to. They are pollinators for plants and also help to kill pests. Their venom even creates antibiotics!
Some main differences between wasps and honeybees are wasps usually have a shine-like texture. They are also typically slimmer and can appear brighter in color compared to honeybees.
There are hundreds of other types of bees, but it’s safe to say these are the three most common ones. No matter what type of bee you’re curious to learn about, you will be absolutely blown away by the amazing things these creatures can do!