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Asociația Națională a Apicultorilor din Republica Moldova

Beekeeping Articles

Honeybee or Wasp?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a honeybee, a wasp and a bumble bee? Well, here is your chance to learn! Most of the time when a person gets stung by an insect, it isn’t a honeybee. There are thousands of types of stinging insects in the United States and honeybees don’t want to sting you if they don’t have to. Did you know after a honeybee stings, she will die? She only has a 6-week lifespan, and she has a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time! It will take 12 worker bees their entire lifetime to make one teaspoon of honey! Let’s take a look at a few more stinging insects.

Wasps are long, flying insects with a narrow waist. They have four wings and a hard, shiny body with no hair. Wasps look more brightly colored than honeybees as well. The lifestyle of a wasp is much different than a honeybee. Wasps live in colonies of about 10,000, and the queen wasp builds a paper nest. They also hibernate in the winter time. Unlike honeybees, wasps can't produce honey and rely on robbing food from other sources. The last thing that makes wasps special is that they can sting multiple times, and their venom is much more painful than a honeybee sting.

Honeybees are smaller insects about 2 centimeters long and are covered with fuzzy hair all over their body. They have two wings that flutter up to 11,000 times per second! That’s why we hear a buzzing noise when a bee flies by! An average hive of honeybees has about 60,000 bees during the middle of summer. The queen bee in the hive has only one job, and that is to lay all the eggs in the hive. Did you know the queen lays 1,000-2,000 eggs per day? During the winter, honeybees are constantly moving and eating honey to keep the hive at a constant temperature of about 98 degrees. The last difference is that honeybees can only sting one time, and then they die! That is because worker bees have a hook on their stinger that gets stuck in whatever they are stinging. When they try to fly away, it pulls their insides out! I'm sure those bees would much rather be out collecting pollen and nectar, instead of stinging something and dying!