This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 3/1/2008

20,000 Bees Under the Sun

There are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide, and their differences have interested scientists for many years. All bees pollinate, but there are differences between bee species. Perhaps you have noticed different kinds of bees in your own backyard. There are about 50 types of bumblebees, which are much larger than other kinds of bees, but very similar to honeybees. Colonies of bumblebees survive only during the warm season, and store less honey than honeybee colonies do. Honeybees survive only as members of colonies, which live inside nests called “hives.” Worker honeybees use nectar, pollen, water, and plant resins to construct these hives. A single hive can contain up to 80,000 bees.

Carpenter bees, on the other hand, are not social, and live for only one year. Carpenters nest in wood, and the males have no stingers. If a bee ever stung you, the culprit probably was a honeybee or a sweat bee. Sweat bees usually nest in a tunnel in the ground, but some nest in wood. Leafcutting bees, however, use leaves to construct their nests. Their nearly circular leaf cuttings are perfect for lining their nests underground or in wood.

Mason bees, smaller than honeybees, chew plant fiber and combine it with mud in order to construct their nests. Like carpenter bees, masons are solitary. Each female bee builds her own nest without help, because there is no hive. It’s pleasant to have mason bees around, because they sting only if stepped on or squeezed. (They make no honey, so they don’t feel compelled to protect a “sweet stash.”) 

In 1956, Brazilian scientists accidentally introduced “killer” bees, or Africanized honeybees, in North and South America. If “AHBs” feel threatened, they can attack and pursue for a quarter of a mile. AHBvenom is no more dangerous than that of common honeybees, but AHBmay attack even if their nest is undisturbed, and respond in greater numbers than honeybees do.

Different kinds of bees are among the most important insects, because our mighty God gave them lots of fascinating abilities. As we study them, we are reminded of His creative power and control of the animal kingdom. 

Copyright © 2008 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio