Difference Between Bees And Hornets

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Various insects fly about around us. We hardly care to know about them and how they help in maintaining balance in nature. Two of the most common insects are bees and hornets. They both belong to the wasp category.

Fact 1 Description Of Bees

Bees are flying insects with a small segmented body and a pair of wings and antennae. They are found in all parts of the world except Antarctica. There are about 20,000 species of bees although many are unknown to us. Some of the species are honey bees and bumblebees. Bees that do not sting live in colonies among humans. Wherever there are insect-pollinated flowering plants, you will find bees’ hives. These little insects are responsible for making one of the most natural sugars that is honey. Nectar from flowers and pollen are the main food for the bees. Bee pollination is important to maintain balance in nature. Stingless bees are small in size and the worker bees are just 2 mm long. Bees have some enemies also. Vertebrates like birds and insect predators like dragonflies and beewolves are their greatest enemies.

Fact 2 What Are Hornets

Hornets belong to the wasps’ species. They are large in size and their behavior is quite complex. Hornets are found in North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Hornets are intelligent insects and their colonies are highly organized. They make awesome nests from a papery substance that is actually a substance containing wood chewed by hornets mixed with saliva. The nest is strong and lightweight and reveals a work of artistry. Although larger than bees they also have enemies. They eat plant matters and are often aggressive if they are disturbed by humans. Their sting is very painful and poisonous like the wasps.

Fact 3 Difference Between Bees And Hornets

Bees and hornets, in spite of belonging to the same species, have many differences. They are:

  1. Bees and hornets differ in size. Bees are smaller than hornets but both have segmented body and a pair of wings.
  2. The bodies of the bees are covered densely with hair whereas, the hornets’ bodies are not hairy.
  3. On the hind legs, the bees have pollen baskets. Hornets do not have any such pollen bags.
  4. The feeding habits of bees and hornets are different. While bees feed only on pollen and nectar, hornets feed primarily on other insects. There are some hornets that feed on human foods like meat and extremely ripe fruits.
  5. The material used by the two insects for building their nests are different. Bees’ hives are made of bees’ wax and the hornets use paper-like substance to construct their unique nests.
  6. Bees produce honey which is highly nutritious. Pollination is an important part of food production of humans. Hornets do not have any such qualities and are rather aggressive in nature.
  7. Another great difference between bees and hornets is their stinging ability. Honeybees can sting only once but when their colonies are disturbed, they attack all together as they are have great unity and can be a threat to humans. Hornets can sting many times. The Asian hornet is native to China. But it has spread to France and as it is an invasive species it has become a great source of trouble in Europe. It releases more poison than most of the other insects. Hence when many hornets sting a single individual multiple times, it can cause serious trouble and has to be hospitalized. Negligence or delay in taking measures can even cause death. Some species of hornets like the Asian hornet can also destroy an entire colony of bees’ hives.

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