Bumblebees are among the most recognizable of all the bees! Their distinctive fuzzy black and yellow exterior instantly gives them away.
While in some parts, they may be mistaken for carpenter bees, a slightly closer look will differentiate them. In this post we’ve got 10 fun facts about bumblebees!
Facts About Bumble Bees
1. The bumblebee sting
The female bumblebee can and will sting when threatened. Bumblebees can sting multiple times, unlike a honeybee, because the stinger is smooth, and does not come away when used.
2. The bumblebee nest
Bumblebees are a type of ground bee, building their nest in the soil underground. It is constructed with wax & pollen, and ends up being the size of a small coconut. The bees insulate the nest with animal fur or other plant matter.
3. Bumblebee colonies
Bumblebees live in small colonies, usually numbering between 50 and 400 bees. This is tiny compared to honeybee colonies which can number in the multiple tens of thousands of bees.
4. The bumblebee queen
Like honeybees, bumblebees have a queen. She starts the hive and raises up the first worker bees. She alone lays eggs, and produces a hormone which stops other females in the nest from reproducing.
5. Bumblebee children
Amazingly, the queen controls the sex of the eggs that she lays. She can choose to lay unfertilized eggs, which will result in female offspring; or she can choose to fertilize eggs with stored sperm to create male offspring.
6. Male bumblebees
The male bumblebee’s main purpose of existence is to mate with female bees. They leave the nest as soon as they can fly, and live short lives.
7. Bumblebee honey
Bumblebees do make their own type of honey, however, it is unsuitable for human consumption. Bears, on the other hand, do eat bumblebee honey, and will dig up a hive to get at it.
8. Bumblebee speed
These bees are fairly fast, but they aren’t going to be breaking any records. Bumblebee speed is between 3 – 4.5 meters per second. This works out to between 6.7 – 10.7 miles per hour.
9. Bumblebee wings
Bumblebees are, of course, well known for the hum they create when flying (in fact, they we’re first named humblebees for this reason). They have 4 wings which can beat at approximately 200 times per second.
10. No bumbles in Australia
While not technically true, as there are bumblebees on the island of Tasmania, there are no bumblebees on the Australian mainland. They are not wanted, and sightings should be reported to the appropriate Aussie authorities.
Those are our 10 fun facts about bumblebees!
Please leave any more in the comments, we know there’s plenty more to be said. You might also be interested in these Carpenter Bee facts, or learn about Mason Bees!