Now that we’re in the middle of summer, what better time than to brush up on your bees and wasps facts? After all, during this time of year, it’s often hard to take a stroll outside without seeing at least one of them. Whether you’re allergic to their venom and want to know more about them for your own protection, or are simply curious, it never hurts to be aware of a few facts.
Bees and Wasps Facts: the bees
Here are some quick facts about our friends, the bees:
- Fat little bodies — Most people know what bees look like, but if you’re not sure, just look for a small, round body flying around. Plus, they’re also fuzzy.
- Essential to the planet — Next time you think about killing a bee, consider this: it has been said by some very smart people that if bees were to become extinct, humans would die off because of the lack of pollination that makes oxygen available.
- Loss of stinger — With certain species, such as the common honey bee, if one of them stings a person or animal, they lose their stinger and will then later die.
- Many different types — Even though most of us are probably only aware of a few types of bees — honey bees, bumble bees, etc. — there are actually more than 20,000 different species in the world.
- “Killer” bees were created by man — Officially known as Africanized bees, these bees were largely the creation of a man named Warwick E. Kerr. He was attempting to design a cross-breed of bees in order to create one that would produce more honey and be better adapted to certain environments. The resulting “killer” bees were found to be extremely defensive and were inadvertently released into the wild, where they quickly began spreading.
Bees and Wasps Facts: the wasps
And here are some facts about wasps:
- Slender bodies — Wasps are pretty recognizable. You’ll notice that they have a slender, segmented body which differentiates them from bees.
- Fidgeting — One thing you might notice about wasps is how it looks like they’re fidgeting much of the time. Their bodies twitch whenever they land.
- Multiple stinging capabilities — Unlike some bees, wasps do not lose their stingers when they sting someone. In fact, if a wasp is so inclined, it can sting a person or animal multiple times.
- Hornets are wasps — Although some people will put hornets into a different category, a hornet is actually just a type of wasp, although usually bigger and with a more painful sting.
- The power of the Japanese Hornet — This specific species is so powerful that a group of 30 have been known to kill a colony of 30,000 bees within three hours.
Photo Credit: Namibnat via Flickr