Difference Between Honey Bee and Bumble Bee (With Table)

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, Drone. Only the Queen has the reproductive ability.

 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. Bumble bees body is not split up into head and abdomen.

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 Between Honey Bee and Bumble Bee

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. Two large compound eyes and three eyes, which are simple and on top of the head. They are generally 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 are 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.

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 the 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.

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 for bringing the food, male 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.


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 winters, whereas bumble bees accumulate food in their exoskeleton.
  4. Honey bees 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.


Along with being a friend to the plant, the bees are also very useful to us because they deliver a lot of things that add to our economic development. Many bees are at the edge of decline. Some of them are even listed as endangered, and that is something which we should be afraid of. Once they start waning, we won’t be able to do much for our friends, so this is the right time to take action.

Some of the people ask why the bees are declining? The answer is obviously “Them”. There are several reasons. Some of them are pesticides, deforestation, habitat fragmentation, global warming, and climate change, and these are the reasons why the bees are going away from us.

These are very useful for us in different sectors of the market. There are various fruits, vegetables, and crops, plus the food is given to cattle is also pollinated by bees. Along with all these, there are various packed goods and not to forget our beauty products also. It is high time that society should understand the importance of bees.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2311.2006.00823.x
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2402083
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