Honey Bee vs Bumble Bee: Difference and Comparison

Sucking nectar from plants and travelling from one plant to another, we can see bees here and there. About 20,000 species are found worldwide.

Their differences are mainly related to physical appearance, pollination habits, behaviour, and habitats. Bees can be found in colonies.

In most cases, there is a queen, Worker bees, and Drone. Only the Queen has reproductive ability.

Key Takeaways

  1. Honeybees are smaller in size compared to bumblebees.
  2. Honey bees collect nectar from flowers and produce honey, while bumblebees collect nectar and pollinate flowers.
  3. Honeybees live in large colonies, while bumblebees have smaller colonies.

 Honey Bee vs Bumble Bee

The difference between honey bees and bumblebees is that bumblebees are more nutritious than honey bees but produce less honey than honey bees. While the Bumble bees are large and hairy, the honeybee is smaller and with less hair. The bumble bees body is not split up into head and abdomen.

Honey Bee vs Bumble Bee

Honey Bee cannot beat their Wings as fast as Bumblebee. They are a bit different from Bumblebee in this aspect.

The food of honey bees contains a vegetarian diet, and the nectar is converted into honey, and the Pollen received from flowers provides them with many vitamins and minerals.

Bumblebees beat 130 or more times in one second, and while they beat their wings, their large body also vibrates along with it, and this, in turn, leads to the beating in the flowers.

They vibrate till the time the pollination is released by the flowers, and this type of pollination is known as buzz pollination.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHoney BeeBumble Bee
Physical AppearanceSmall and thin with hairs. They are yellow with black bandsThey are less hairy and have yellow bands on black bodies
HabitatHexagonal hivesUnderground nests are made or they thrive in leftover nests of rats or birds
ColoniesThey are thousands in numberThey consist of 40-500
HibernationTheir queen doesn’t hibernateQueens hibernate in winters
CommunicationThey dance to communicate and let their co-workers know about the food and its locationThey use wing vibrations and chemical signals
when they need to communicate

What is Honey Bee?

If we look at the physical characteristics of honey bees, we notice that they are 1.2cm in size or 15mm or 0.5 inches. The head and thorax are differentiated, and they are of varied colours.

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Two large compound eyes and three eyes, which are simple and on top of the head. They are yellow and have black bands.

We have a lot of advantages from honeybees, such as being the crop pollinator. They increase our monetary value in the market by the large production of crops.

We also get Honey, Pollen, Royal Jelly, beeswax, and propolis for our uses.

How do they reproduce?

1. The sperm is stored in a sac called spermatheca by the queen, and they can control the fertilization of eggs with the help of it.

2. Queen lays two types of eggs, the first one is fertilized, which later grows into a female, and the unfertilized one turns into a drone. The female Honey Bee later became a virgin queen. Those who are in the cells which are vertical and huger than the ordinary size, the queen cell will later become a queen.

3. After hatching, the virgin queens are given Royal jelly to dine, which is generated from the salivary gland of the squad of workers. If that Royal Jelly is not given to the virgin Queen, it will turn into a worker and not the Queen.

4. The movement of them in large numbers from one place to another is known as swarming.

honey bee

What is Bumble Bee?

There are 255 species and two types of Bumblebee. The first one is Bombus which is a nest builder, and the second one is Psithyrus which is a parasite. Both of them are found in Great Britain and North Asia.

Psithyrus don’t have any workers, so they lay their eggs in the Bombus best, and the Bombus workers take care of the egg. There is even one endangered Bumblebee which is known as the rusty patched Bumblebee.

Physical characteristics

They are hairy, and their size includes 1.5 to 2.5 cm and is black and yellow with some broad bands. They live under the ground. Their nest includes a queen, a male drone, and workers. They consume food such as nectar and pollen, which are made by the plant.

 How does reproduction happen?

1. After the hibernation process in winter, the Bombus queen, who is like a mother to her colony, lays eggs in the nest and sits there for almost two weeks to keep them warm.

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2. The first brood reaches 4-8 worker bees. They become adults and start doing the duties of the queen, that is, collecting pollen and taking care of hives.

3. Queen then takes retirement and is only authorized to keep laying the eggs.

4. For a noticeable amount of time, only worker bees are produced, and when the number reaches 500, then they stop. One should know that a group of bumblebees which is from 50 to 500 is known as Colony.

5. In late summer, when they have sufficient workers to bring the food, males and new Queens are produced. Here the males developed from the eggs laid by the queen, which were unfertilized, and some from the eggs laid by the workers.

6. Gradually, the queen stops laying the eggs, and the colony, as well as the Queen, dies.

7. Now, the leftover eggs are attacked by some moths and beetles, and thus, the colony of bumblebees comes to an end.

bumble bee 1

Main Differences Between Honey Bee and Bumble Bee

  1.  Honey bees get only one chance to bite, whereas bumble bees are lucky enough to bite several times in their lifetime.
  2. Honey bees are more patient, whereas bumble bees are good workers.
  3. Honey bees utilize the depository to feed their people during winter, whereas bumble bees accumulate food in their exoskeleton.
  4. Honeybees belong to the Apis species, while bumblebees belong to the Bombus species.
  5. When on the one hand, there is a surplus production of honey by honey bees. On the other hand, bumblebees don’t produce in that amount, so they are not domesticated.
Difference Between Honey Bee and Bumble Bee
References
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2311.2006.00823.x
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2402083

Last Updated : 17 August, 2023

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19 thoughts on “Honey Bee vs Bumble Bee: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article did a fantastic job of laying out the differences between honey bees and bumblebees. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in ecological systems.

    Reply
    • I beg to differ. While it’s informative, I found the article to be overly technical and dry. It could use a more engaging approach.

      Reply
  2. The section about bee reproduction was both enlightening and captivating. Bees truly have a remarkable process for colony development.

    Reply
  3. I found this article to be lacking in depth. It merely scratches the surface of the intricate lives of bees. Some more detailed examples and case studies would have made it more compelling.

    Reply
  4. This article is an essential read for anyone interested in the natural world. The comprehensive comparison between honey bees and bumblebees was extremely enlightening. Well done!

    Reply
  5. Bees are fascinating creatures! I never knew there were so many differences between honey bees and bumblebees. This article is very informative and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. The comparison table was an excellent addition to the article. It provided a clear and concise summary of the key differences between honey bees and bumblebees.

    Reply
    • I found the table to be quite redundant. The information was already explained in detail within the text. It felt unnecessary.

      Reply
    • I wholeheartedly agree. The visual representation of information was incredibly helpful in comprehending the disparities between these bee species.

      Reply
  7. I’ve always been intrigued by bees, and this article provided a wealth of new information. The illustration of differences between honey bees and bumblebees was superbly crafted and insightful.

    Reply
    • I had no idea about the difference in biting chances between honey bees and bumblebees! This article is a treasure trove of knowledge.

      Reply
  8. This article has truly broadened my understanding of bees. The comprehensive comparison and details about their reproductive processes have left me in awe of these creatures.

    Reply

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