Видео мастер-класс Плетем браслет из паракорда Bumblebee

The Student Conservation Association

You are here

  • Home
  • Connect
  • Blog

Bumblebees vs. Honeybees: What’s the Difference, and Why Does it Matter?

Bees have been much in the news of late, and for the saddest of reasons: due to habitat loss, global warming, pesticides, and monocrop agriculture, their numbers are in sharp decline across the United States. The loss of bees and other threatened pollinators could damage not only the world’s economy, but also endanger its very ecosystem.

But not all bees are created equal: there are nearly 20,000 known species, differing widely in physical characteristics, pollination habits, behaviors, and habitat. And although we can’t be familiar with all of them, we can take a first step by considering two of the most common varieties: the bumblebee and the honeybee.

Bumblebees vs. Honeybees: Appearance and Habitat

Let’s get the taxonomy out of the way first. Although the various bumblebee and honeybee species both belong to the Apidae family, bumblebees belong to the Bombus genus and honeybees to Apis. Their appearance is different, as well.

Bumblebees are round and fuzzy; honeybees are smaller and thinner – it would be easy, in fact, to mistake them for wasps. And while honeybees have a clear distinction between head and abdomen, bumblebees are “all of one piece.” Honeybees also have two clear sets of wings: a larger set in front and a smaller set in back.

Close up of a honeybee

But it is in habitat where their dissimilarities are most clearly marked. Hyper-social honeybees live in hives with tens of thousands of their brethren: those hives can either be domesticated colonies kept by beekeepers or wild ones found in hollow trees. As their name suggests, they are honey producers, and their long-lived colonies survive the winter intact – the queen, in fact, can live for some three to four years.

Close up of a bumblebee

Bumblebees are social, too, but not to the same extent. Where honeybees build hives, bumblebees live in nests with up to a few hundred fellow bees. These nests are found exclusively in the wild (bumblebees are not domesticated), and can often be found in burrows or holes in the ground. In fact, the queen, which is the only member of a bumblebee colony to survive the winter, hibernates in the ground. Bumblebees are not honey producers – or rather, what they produce is for self-consumption in the nest.

Bumblebees vs. Honeybees: Pollination and Feeding

Of the two groups, bumblebees are the better pollinators. The reason for this is eminently practical: as there are more species of bumblebees, there is a wider variety in lengths of tongue and, thus, the kinds of flowers they feed from. They are fast workers and, because of their larger bodies, can carry larger loads.

Bumblebees are good at learning how to extract pollen from different flowers and can even specialize in certain species. And this greater flexibility makes them adept at cross-pollination, which is particularly important for fruit trees. Moreover, bumblebees are more resistant to weather conditions such as cold, rain, and limited light.

The one advantage honeybees have is communication: they actually perform a dance to let their fellow workers know where good supplies of pollen can be found! Although this is good for their colony and honey production, it can actually be a disadvantage in terms of pollination. Whereas honeybees will rush off to mine a certain pollen source, bumblebees will stay around, patiently working an extended area until it is fully pollinated.

Don’t Fear the Sting

One final difference: honeybees can only sting once before dying. Bumblebees can sting multiple times, but they do not form swarms like honeybees and they only sting when truly provoked.

Both bee types are safe enough to host in your backyard, so take sensible precautions and don’t let fear of stings prevent you from planting wildflowers to attract bees and reverse decades of habitat loss. You can either do this in your own yard or in unattended areas through the use of seed balls. You’ll not only be helping to save our endangered bees, but you’ll able to appreciate their differences for yourself!

Bumble Bee Anatomy

All insects have three main body parts: the head, thorax and abdomen. Our online key focuses on color patterns on each of these three body parts. Photos that include the color patterns on all three of these body parts will be the most helpful. Many species profile pages refer to color patterns on T1-5. T refers to abdominal segments on the “back” of the bee. T actually refers to the term Tergal. So T-1 is tergal segment 1; see diagram below.

Basic bumble bee anatomy:

In order to properly identify bumble bees, you need to first determine whether the bee you are examining is male or female. There are three different types of bumble bees you will encounter: workers, queens, and males. Both queens and workers are female. In most cases, queens and workers have similar coloration and physical features, except that queens tend to be much larger. Males can differ in coloration from females of the same species, as well as other physical characteristics. Because male bumble bees have a lot of variation and are difficult to identify from photographs, our survey is currently only focusing on females.

Паракорд Плетение браслета «Гайки» (Paracord «Hex Nut»)

Is your bumble bee male or female?

Bee Meaning and Symbolism

What Do Bees Symbolize?

The tenacious bee, besides being the epitome of Freemasonry, also stands as a potent symbol of fertility, wisdom, chastity, love, success, wealth, and hard work, as well as altruism.

Having a Bee as Your Spirit Animal (Totem Animal)

If your totem animal is a bee, it strongly suggests you have a diligent and tireless nature.

what’s my spirit animal quiz?

The unmistakable selflessness reflected in your character is akin to that of the sacrificial bee who foregoes itself while working towards a common goal.

Teamwork, fellowship, and peaceful coexistence come to you naturally.

As the bee that found a way to fly despite not being originally meant to use its wings, you also find a way to spread your wings and reach your high aspirations with your determination and adaptable nature.

You are vehemently protective and defensive of people you hold dear, as well as your material and financial possessions.

Браслет из паракорда «Челюсти акулы».

Your unfaltering tenacity and a high threshold for pain \enable you to stand tall at the face of all adversities.

Your optimistic nature lets you see a silver lining in everything, which motivates others around you as well.

Productivity, efficiency, and laboriousness naturally ooze from your very being. However, since balance is yet another characteristic trait of the bee totem, you too take joy in what you do and consequently indulge in reaping its sweet rewards.

Bumblebee as your spirit animal symbolizes focus, patience, and perseverance as it is considered to bring the message of life’s secrets, showing you how to stick to your resolve and achieve something.

What Does It Mean To See a Bee

Seeing a Honeybee in and Around Your House

If a bee graces your home, it symbolizes that you can soon expect a visitor, possibly a stranger. It is also regarded as a sign of good fortune, but only if it is allowed to stay or leave freely. On the other hand, many are of the conviction that a bee entering your home is a message to focus on nurturing and communicating with your family or community. It could also be a message that it is about to rain.

A swarm of bees resting on the roof of your house foretells that the house is about to burn down.

Bees swarming over bushes or trees all of a sudden implies the imminent death of a person near you, while the sighting of lethargic bees points towards an approaching disaster.

If a Bee Lands on You or Stings You

When a bee rests on your head, it is believed that you shall soon achieve eminence in life.

If a bee lands on your hand, it may be a prophecy that you are about to receive money.

It was once believed that any impious or unchaste soul is deliberately stung by a bee. However, if you manage to wade through an entire swarm of bees totally unscathed, it bears testimony to your innocence.

What does it Mean to Dream about Bees

Taking into consideration your current life situation, culture, superstitious stance, religion, astrological beliefs, and your own perspective, the significance of a bee dream may vary greatly. Generally, seeing a honeybee in your dream symbolizes intensification of your industrious nature, or your busy work schedule – justifying the phrase ‘busy as a bee’. On the other hand, it may also reflect your concerns regarding your communication skills, and your social life. Specific dreams may have a more specific meaning as well.

A queen bee Symbolizes the presence of an authoritative woman in your waking life (or your emergence as such a lady, if you are a woman)
Getting stung by a bee You are going through certain troubles in some aspect of your life, and it’s bothering you at a subconscious level; It may also be a reminder of suppressed guilt at something you did
A bee stinging your hand You have been hurt by someone’s criticism while trying to reach out to them
A bee land on you Signifies that you have found your soul mate, your source of eternal love and commitment
Getting chased or attacked by bees You are perturbed by some disturbing memories or the possibility of a past event surfacing and jeopardizing your present
Trying to catch a bee Stands for your unfaltering focus and perseverance to achieve your goals
Bees pollinating flowers Your patience and persistence are about to bring in positive results in the near future in the form of a promotion or marriage
A single drone Might signify a subordinate or a diligent underdog, or someone in your waking life who ‘drones’ or speaks in a monotonous manner
A single bumblebee you are working hard in your professional life, and will soon be proud of what you achieve
Killing a bee Stands for you triumphing over your enemies
A dead bee Financially trying times are ahead
A beehive Symbolizes order, discipline, teamwork, cooperation, and expectation of a reward after the completion of some group endeavors
A beehive swarming with bees Showcases your desire for orderliness at home
A beehive full of honey Signifies your financially stable condition, or hints that you will soon acquire a considerable fortune
An empty beehive Stands for financial instability, loss of job or property

Symbolic Meaning of Bees in Different Cultures and Religions

Christianity

Bees are considered to symbolize virginity, as their asexual mode of reproduction is reminiscent of the Immaculate Conception. There are parallels drawn between a bee and the Virgin Mary in Christian mythology. Also, Roman Catholic Churches use beeswax for lighting candles in Church altars.

The word ‘honey’ is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, symbolizing prosperity, abundance, and good health.

In Islam

Chapter 16 of the Quran is titled An-Nahl or ‘The Bee’ and is considered to be the revelation of God itself. The chapter propagates how bees hold the secrets to nature, life, and creation while having an extraordinary link with the Creator itself.

In the Quran, paradise is pictured as a place with rivers flow with clarified and pure honey. The Prophet also acknowledges the healing prowess of honey in his sayings in Hadith. The scripture regards honeybee as a symbol of healing due to the medicinal properties of honey.

In Judaism

The celebration of Rosh Hashana includes the ritual of eating apple slices dipped in honey as it is believed to bring an auspicious and happy new year.

In Hinduism

Bee is also a noteworthy symbol in Hinduism. Bhagavata Purana states that just as bees collect nectar from all sorts of flowers, wise men too must renounce bigotry and respect all religions, thereby emerging as a symbol of tolerance and liberalism.

According to the Vedas, the buzzing of a bee is symbolic of the fundamental sound of the universe. These ancient scriptures hold bees in high regard due to the medicinal powers of honey. Vedic scriptures dating back to 1500 BC refer to honey as the ‘nectar of the sun’.

The bow of Kamadeva, the Hindu God of Love and Fertility, is said to be made of sugarcane, while its string is made of honeybees. The Goddess Bhramari Devi stands as the Indian Bee Goddess, with her name deriving from the word ‘bhramara’, meaning bumblebee.

In Celtic Religion

As per Celtic mythology, bees are the link between this world and the realm beyond, besides being a bearer of secret wisdom. They are a Celtic symbol of humanitarianism, fraternity, intelligence, and empathy.

Killing a Bee

Since bees are clearly considered to be holy insects signifying something positive, killing one is looked upon as a bad omen, a harbinger of bad luck, or an unwelcome visitor.