Honeybees sting when they perceive a threat to their hive – but they pay a high price for this act of self-defence. That’s because a honeybee’s stinger is composed of two spiked hooks. When it stings, these hooks pierce the unlucky victim’s skin.
There are 250 species of bumblebee in the world – 24 are native to the UK. Each species will stay loyal to a type of flower for as long as it’s in bloom. This is vital for the plant as the bumblebee species only carries its pollen, allowing the plant to spread optimally.
Bombus terrestris, or the large earth bumblebee, makes a habit of not collecting pollen from flowers in the direct vicinity of its nest. This reduces the risk of its natural enemies following a trail back to its nest.
In the EU alone 200,000 tons of pesticides are sprayed each year to protect crops from disease. But thanks to new start-up Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) that could soon become a thing of the past. The company has discovered that bees provide a natural alternative to pesticides.
No, drones – that’s male bumblebees – get by without this weapon. Their only task in life is to impregnate young queens. During the roughly half-hour mating ritual, the genitals of the two bumblebees will hook into one another.