Honey bees are among the most useful creatures on earth; not only do they provide us with honey and other byproducts that we may eat as food, but honey bees and other bees play an essential role in the pollination of plant life. It has been estimated that up to 30 percent of the food that people consume around the world is reliant upon Melbourne Beach Bat Removal pollination by bees. However, we’re equally as likely to find bumblebees in our gardens as honey bees; how can these two types of bees differ?

Although there are more than 250 known species of bumblebee, there are only 7 recognized species of honey bee. Both play a role in the pollination of plant life. Both are social creatures, living in colonies, and thus worker bees gather nectar from flowers to take back to their colonies, for consumption and to feed to their young.

Typical honey bee colonies have 30,000 to 50,000 bees, whether domesticated or in the wild; the huge majority of the bees in a colony are female worker bees, who are sterile and perform almost all of the work of the colony. Colonies also contain a queen, who’s capable of laying eggs and producing young; and a few hundred male drones, whose only purpose is to mate with the queen.

Bumblebees, on the other hand, have much smaller colonies — sometimes fewer than a hundred bees. Bumblebees don’t construct permanent homes as honeybees do; they often nest in tunnels in the ground, though occasionally they will manufacture a wax canopy for protection. Bumblebee societies are structured similarly to those of honey bees, with workers, drones, and a queen fulfilling specific purposes, but bumblebee workers aren’t sterile; they are able to lay haploid eggs which develop into male drones. Only queens are able to lay diploid eggs which may grow into female workers and queens in addition to males.

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This reproductive competition between the queen and the workers results in colony behaviour that differs from that of honey bees. Early in the reproductive system, the queen will suppress the egg-laying ability of her employees by physical aggression as well as pheromonal signals. The queen will consequently produce all the first male larvae of the season, as well as most of the female larvae. Since the queen’s ability to suppress the employees wanes later in the season, worker bees, too, will start to lay eggs that produce male larvae.

After they have matured, new males and queens will be driven from the colony; those outcasts spend nights on flowers or in cavities in the ground. The queens and drones will also mate with each other; a mated queen will seek out a suitable location to hibernate through the winter. The following spring, the queen will emerge from hibernation and find a location for a nest. The queen, then, forms a new colony and broods her eggs on her own.

Bumblebees do produce honeyfrom the nectar they gather from flowers; the process is similar to that of honey bees. However, honey bees tend to produce more honey than they need; it is thus simple for beekeepers to harvest honey from domestic hives while leaving enough for the bees’ particular needs. Since bumblebee colonies are so much smaller, they’re barely able to produce enough honey for themselves; beekeepers therefore do not try to raise bumblebees for their honey. Additionally, it is difficult and generally destructive to extract honey from wild bumblebee nests.

It sometimes may be tough to differentiate between a them, but they are distinct animals with different customs and life cycles.

Honey Bees

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