Is it true that bumblebees don't produce honey?

Bumblebees do produce honey, but a lot less than honeybees do. There are several reasons for this: a bumblebee colony only has a lifespan of around one year; honeybee colonies last up to three years. Honeybees will therefore stockpile honey for the winter, meaning that they produce a lot more of this ‘liquid gold’ than bumblebees. Bumblebee colonies also have no more than 600 members, a great deal fewer than honeybee colonies which have up to 80,000 members. And while honeybees snuggle together to keep warm, bumblebees have to vibrate their muscles to maintain their body temperature. That requires lots of energy, which they get by scoffing down all their honey. So bumblebees certainly do produce honey – just not enough for beekeepers to put it into jars.


Quick fact