Big Differences Among the Bees

From Issue: Discovery 2/1/2019

One of the beauties and wonders of God’s creation is seen in the great variety among animals—even among the same general kind of animals. For example, have you ever taken the time to notice the great variety among bees? There are bumblebees, honeybees, sweat bees, carpenter bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, and more.

Bumblebees are much larger than other kinds of bees, but very similar to honeybees.
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 
use leaves to construct their nests. Their nearly circular leaf cuttings are perfect for lining their nests underground or in wood. photo credit: (Tamba52) 2019 CC-sa-3.0
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 these bees feel threatened, they can attack and pursue for a quarter of a mile.

Different kinds of bees are among the most important insects, because our mighty God gave them lots of fascinating abilities. As with all of God’s amazing creation, bees remind us of His creative power and control in His superbly designed world.


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