There are many animals that have a great similarity and that we can easily confuse, something that happens especially with insects, such as bees, wasps and bumblebees. When a fluttering insect of this type approaches us, we tend to be easily scared, believing that it comes directly to bite us but, in reality, it is different insects and also, although whenever they bite or bite it is to defend themselves from what they consider an attack or invasion. of their space, some are more aggressive than others. This is just one of the differences they have, since there are many more.
Physical differences between bees, wasps, and bumblebees
Most of the differences between these insects are physical and they are the ones that help us the most to distinguish them quickly and, for these reasons, it is very convenient to know them well. Thus, although there are different species and subspecies of the three types of insects and, therefore, there may also be differences and similarities between the directly related species themselves, these are the main physical differences between bee, wasp and bumblebee :
- The color: bees are brown and yellow and have hair, bumblebees have soft hair with yellow, orange, white and dark brown or black stripes, and finally, wasps are generally black, or dark brown, with stripes bright yellow and have hardly any hair, it may appear at first glance that they have no hair at all.
- Hair: as we have mentioned, wasps hardly have and bees and bumblebees do. In addition, bumblebees have much more hair all over their bodies, something that gives them the advantage of better coping with cold, wind, rain, and other environmental problems that the other two species of insects cannot cope well with.
- The size: the size of these insects also varies. Specifically, bees usually measure from 15 mm to 20 mm queens, bumblebees are around 20 mm in size and wasps can vary much more in size, ranging from 10 mm to 35 mm, depending on the species.
- The sting and the poison: it is known to most that bees die when stinging, but why? This happens due to the type of stinger they have, as it is fixed and has hooks to be well fixed on the skin of the target of the bite, and they cannot retriate and store it. Also, the venom gland that is linked to the stinger is directly linked to your intestines. This does not happen in bumblebees and wasps, since the former have it fixed but it is not tied to their intestines and the latter have a smooth, retractable stinger. The venom of bumblebees and bees is rather acidic, while that of wasps is alkaline.
Difference in bee, wasp and bumblebee sting
Another way to distinguish these insects is to look at the way they bite, from the buzz they make when approaching to the way they bite and the result. To begin with, the noise or buzz that we hear when they hover near us is much louder than that of bumblebees than that of bees or wasps, except in the case of large wasps that can also have a very loud hum.
As for the sting, as we have commented before, the poisons are different , so to treat the stings it is necessary to use opposite substances to neutralize the poison in each case. For example, in the case of a bee sting that has acid poison, we will use alkaline substances. The big difference when stinging is that when the bees sting they leave the stinger and die and the other two insects do not; But there are also more different things between these insects regarding their way of biting. For example, the most aggressive are the wasps , although they do not usually sting but normally bite, and if they sting their stinger does not remain nailed, on the other hand the bumblebee sting is less frequent, because it rarely stings since it is calmer. Also, you have to think that these insects only attack us when they have felt intimidated or threatened by us.
Differences in the society of bees, wasps and bumblebees
We find more differences in the way these insects live. To begin with, bees and bumblebees always live in society or in semi- society , while wasps can be solitary or social , depending on their specific species. Wasps use mud to make their swarms and bees and bumblebees use wax to build their hives. Also, only some species of bees make honey, they are in fact known as honey bees, while the other two insects do not.
These animals are one of the main ways that plants are pollinated , something vital for the existence of life on the planet as we know it, specifically this is the function of the bumblebee and the bee in nature. In fact, the former is much more effective than the latter, due to the fact that it withstands more extreme conditions, thanks to its larger size and hair, and therefore pollinates for longer and longer distances. Instead, the function of wasps is to be hunters or predators of other insects.
Finally, another big difference between bee, wasp and bumblebee is the way they feed. Wasps have powerful jaws that serve to feed on other insects, leaves and flowers, they do not feed on nectar like bees and bumblebees, although there are some species that do eat nectar when they are adults. Thus, while wasps are omnivorous because they mostly hunt insects and eat plants, bees and bumblebees always feed on nectar and therefore have a proboscis to suck the nectar .