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honeybeesThe Milkweed (Asclepias) flower to the left has two Honeybees on it. They love all the nectar in these fragrant flowers.


The Image above is a close up of a Bumblebee. They are black and yellow, instead of orange like Honeybees.

The picture to the left has both!

working Mantis


Here are the answers to some interesting questions we have addressed
over the years.

Stay tuned for new BUG Trivia Activities!

- Stings and Other Hurting Things
    - Which hurts more, honeybee or bumblebee?

    - Why do Honeybees make swarms?
    - Which insect kills the most people?
    - Why does a mosquito bite?
    - What is the difference between flies and wasps?
- Back to Information Pages

Which Hurts More, a Honeybee Sting or a Bumblebee Sting?


















Visitors voted and commented!
(Click here for our answer!)

Here are the results: Honeybee 49%, Bumblebee 49%, Other (tie) 2%.

Honest. It was a tie! We received some interesting answers, too. Here's a sample:

Honeybee folks:

B.P., 14, from La Sierra High School in Riverside, CA and A. & S., 15, from San Marcos School in Santa Barbara, CA all said: A honey bee sting. Bumble bees do not sting. (A.& S. gave us one of these :-} too.)

K.Y., 16, from Timberline Secondary School in Campbell River, BC said: A honey bee sting, because bumble bees bite, don't they ?

J.W., 15, from Titusville High School in Titusville, FL said: I think the honey bee hurts worst (but J.W. didn't say why...)

C., 12, from SMA in Chicago, IL said: A honeybee sting hurts more because it has a much longer style to get the nectar out of the plants (Don't think they use their stingers - sticking out of their abdomens - to get nectar... Good reasoning, though.)

H.S., 14, from Texas Elementary in Arkansas, TE said: A honeybee sting because they use their stingers to protect the queen. (It's good to think about adaptive significance. Good guess, H.S.!)

NOONE said (weird, huh?): probably a honeybee sting because once a bumble stings it can do it again. A honeybee can sting over and over (sounds little confused...)

???, 16, from Novi High School in Novi, MI said: Honey bee. Because there is honey in I. (waxing poetic!)

Bumblebee folks:

P.M., old, from Community College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, NV and A.A., 14, from LCWM Middle School in Lake Crystal, MN both said: Bumblebees are larger, they have bigger stingers that would hurt more.

D., 8, from S Elementary School in MI said: A bumble bee sting...cause Bumble bees have sharper stingers. (interesting idea...)

N.H., 16, from Windsor School in Windsor, MO said: honeybees have no stinger.

K.B., 8, from Oakdale School in Rock Hill, SC and T.B., 31, from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA both said: bumblebee-larger with more poison and it leaves its stinger

Q., 12, from somewhere said: Bumble bee. We learnt it in science.

U.M., 17, from somewhere in Albuquerque, NM said: Bumble bee (For some unknown reason)

J.M., 69, from Dubbie High School in Humbolt, CA said: (in very authoritative fashion) That is a trick question. A honey bee sting contains sylophanotic poison in it and a bumblebee sting contains a less sever thyroxidle poison that doesn't hurt or swell as bad. But the Bumblebee sting is bigger and goes in deeper, so they are both the same. Whew! Nice job, J.M.!

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We did have a couple of visitors tell us they had been stung by both Honeybees and Bumblebees and one of them definitely hurts more than the other. And some of us BUG-People have been stung by both, too! And we can't agree either.

Here's the answer according to BUGMAN:

Honeybee stings have the potential to hurt a lot more than Bumblebee stings and they can be more dangerous, too.

Here's why... Honeybees sacrifice themselves when they sting by losing their stingers. A Honeybee's sting is double-shafted and barbed. When she stings you (and it can only be a she since the stinger is a modified egg-laying organ. Remember, the Queen lays all the eggs in a Honeybee nest.) she leaves the stinger and part of her former reproductive system behind. There are two globs of muscles and a sack of toxins. After the bee leaves, the muscles writhe with a life of their own, digging the stinger deeper into your skin. This also squeezes the sack of toxins and empty more into you! That hurts!

Bumblebees do not live within the same kind of structured social system as the honeybees. All of the females are reproductive. They cannot afford to commit suicide because each female is responsible for making more Bumblebees. So a Bumblebee will jab, squirt some toxin, and pull out. How bad the sting hurts depends more on how much time she has to sting than her body size.

Along the same lines, the one of the more dangerous spiders in North America, the Blackblack widowsWidow (Latrodectus mactans), is really small compared to some of the rose tarantulatarantulas which are relatively harmless. Black Widows rarely kill humans. It's usually because of a not-so-common allergic reaction or because the victim already has some other health issue. It hurts - and you feel bad for a few days, headache, nausea - but people rarely die. On the other hand, a Rose Tarantula (Grammastola cala) bite is extremely rare and no worse than a bee sting!


So, if a honeybee stings you - before you start screaming and crying - look at the place it stung you and see if the stinger is still there. If it is use your fingernail and just flick it out as fast as you can. If you do it right away, it'll come right out and not hurt nearly as much. Of course, if you're not a grownup then any time anything like that happens you always tell a grownup. Some of these things can get dangerous in cases of allergic reactions. Check how you are feeling over the next half hour to a few hours after the sting. If you start having trouble breathing or any unusual pain, get help!

Now the good news... Neither Honeybees nor Bumblebees want to sting you. It's literally a pain in their behinds! They are bothered though by carbon dioxide (CO2). That's the gas we breathe out. So when you're out bee watching keep your hand over your mouth and nose. You can watch pretty closely when bees and wasps are working on flowers. It is incredible to see them work!


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