Fun Facts About Bumblebees and Honeybees

May 18, 2022

Bumblebees and honeybees play a significant role in pollination and our overall ecosystem. Humans cannot live without bees. While we fear bees, we often forget the role they play in the foods we eat and the beauty of the gardens that surround us.

Are honeybees the same as bumblebees?

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These bees are in good company with just about 20,000 other known types of bees. Here are some fun facts:

  • Bumblebees are chubby and fuzzy. Honeybees are slight and thinner and often mistaken for wasps.
  • Honeybees flap their wings 11,000 times per minute, so it sounds like they are “buzzing.”
  • Bumblebees are quick aviators and will chase a nest invader for miles!
  • Honeybees sting once before dying. Their sting is excruciating if the stinger is not removed immediately.
  • Bumblebees can sting multiple times because their stingers do not have barbs. They are smooth and can enter and re-enter skin more than once.

Where do these bees live?

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  • Bumblebees live in a nest with a few hundred bees. They produce for self-consumption. Bumblebees often nest in the ground but can be found above ground around patio areas or decks. They will sometimes build their nests in attics or under roof beams. If disturbed, bumblebees will buzz at a loud volume and defend their nests. They are very social bees and live in large “families.” (org)
  • Honeybees call a hive their home with thousands in the colony. As their name implies, they make honey! Honeybee nests vary in size. They typically build their nests in tree crevices but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys. Honeybees live in large “families” and are found worldwide. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years. That is because they huddle together and eat honey to keep themselves alive during the winter months. (org)

Are bumblebees and honeybees endangered?

According to the Cornell Cooperative Extension, “Nearly 75% of all crops around the world are at least partially dependent on pollinators. Some of the crops that are highly dependent on pollination include fruits, nuts, avocados, melons, pumpkins, cocoa beans, coffee, soybeans, and palm oil. In fact, the USDA states that honeybees and other native pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food that we eat, and it is estimated that pollination helps increase our nation’s crop value by 15 billion each year.

 However, over the past few decades, we have seen a significant rise in the annual loss rates of managed honeybees across the country. According to the Bee Informed Partnership Inc., which is a nationwide organization that surveys beekeepers, there is nearly a 40% winter loss rate for bee colonies in New York State.

 Honeybee populations have largely been maintained because beekeepers have remained vigilant in replacing their dead colonies every year. However, these replacement percentages are not sustainable, and they point to a much larger problem. Not only are we seeing losses in honeybees, but there is also good evidence to suggest we are witnessing population declines in both wild bees and other native pollinators as well.”

Climate change and the impact on the bees’ habitats have considerably impacted the overall bee population. According to Environment America,

American bumblebees also play an important role in pollinating a range of crops and wildflowers. Along with the other bumblebees, honeybees, and solitary native bees, these pollinators are responsible for helping a tremendous number of plants reproduce across the continent — including many of the crops that humans rely on for food.

Out of the 100 crops that supply 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees.

What should I do if I have bees around my house?

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Please do not attempt to handle a hive yourself. Bees can become very territorial and aggressive if you agitate them or their nest or hive. Seek immediate medical attention if you are stung and unsure of the reaction you may experience from bee stings.

The bee population, in general, is declining in the U.S. at a rapid rate. At Accurate Pest Control, typically, we will not kill the honeybees and try our best to preserve them due to the colony collapse disorder currently facing these bees. We have joined forces with local beekeepers who will remove the hive, relocate, and save it. We will remove it from the structure to access the hive and repair the structure once the hive is removed.

Despite being a pest control service, we advocate preserving the pollinators such as honeybees or bumblebees. Contact us for a free inspection, and together we can find a solution to protect both you and your family as well as the bees.

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