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Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Do Bumblebees Make Honey?

Do Bumblebees Make Honey?

Yes, bumblebees produce honey, but their honey is not used by people. Bumblebee nests are very different from honeybee nests. Bumblebees do not build hives of honeycombs. They usually make their nests in holes in the ground and only have an average of a few hundred to a thousand bees in a colony. Therefore they don’t produce as much as honey bees do.

Also honey bees normally have anywhere from 6 to 20 thousand bees per colony and aren’t as aggressive and are easier to harvest from than bumblebees. Less work, more product. That’s why you don’t hear of using bumblebee honey, quite similar in taste and texture but has a greenish golden tint in color instead of the gold color of honey.

In the nest, the queen bumblebee makes waxen cells in which the young bumblebees are raised. These cells are carelessly built — unlike the honeybee’s perfect six sided cells. Near the entrance, the queen builds a waxen honey pot and fills it with a thin honey, which serves as a reserve food supply in rainy weather.

Over 250 species of bumblebee are known. They are found primarily in higher altitudes or latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, although they are also found in South America where a few lowland tropical species have been identified. European bumblebees have also been introduced to New Zealand and Tasmania.

Bumblebees are social insects which form colonies with a single queen. Colonies are smaller than those of honeybees, growing to as few as 50 individuals in a nest. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals. Cuckoo bumblebees do not make nests; their queens aggressively invade the nests of other bumblebee species, kill the resident queens and then lay their own eggs which are cared for by the resident workers.

Content for this question contributed by Michael, resident of Center Point, Kerr County, Texas, USA