Bumble Bee VS Carpenter Bee
Our fully inclusive guide on the bumble bee, the carpenter bee, and the differences between them.
When we think of bees, we pretty much generalise them, don’t we? We think of these fairly round, yellow and black fuzzy creatures that buzz around, produce honey, pollinate our plants, and don’t really bother us unless we bother them first.
But have you ever actually sat and thought about the different species of bee that are out there? You’d be surprised at how they can be similar, how they can vary, and the sheer number of different types out there.
Today, we’re going to be focusing on two bees in particular, namely the bumble bee, and carpenter bee. How are they similar, and how are they different?
Read on for our fully inclusive guide on the bumble bee vs the carpenter bee!
The Appearance of the Bumble Bee vs. Carpenter Bee
First up, we’re going to be looking at the similarities and differences in appearance between the bumble bee and the carpenter bee.
Now, it’s no secret that these two bees in particular share many features, and because of this, it can actually be quite difficult to tell them apart from one another, even if you’re close up, and have a knowledge of the species in general.
Let’s take a closer look then, shall we?
The Appearance of the Bumble Bee
The first notable difference between the bumble bee and the carpenter bee, is their body hair.
The bumble bee has something called pile on their bodies, which is a kind of fuzzy and soft hair which covers their body, giving them a look of being soft and fluffy. The purpose of the pile on their bodies, is so that when they are foraging, pollen sticks to their hair, and helps them to bring more resources home to their nest.
Bumble bees also have a more colourful body than the carpenter bee. They have the iconic black and yellow “bee” stripes. The name of this pattern is actually the “aposematic colouration”. This is a defence towards predators as it makes them look inedible.
The bumble bee also has a proboscis on its’ head, shaped a little like a tongue. This is used to collect nectar and pollen.
The Appearance of a Carpenter Bee
Now, we’re taking a look at the appearance of the carpenter bee in comparison. The difference in size when you put the two bees together is pretty noticeable, with the carpenter bee generically being a lot bigger than the vast majority of bumble bees you’ll come across.
Carpenter bees can reach the length of between half an inch, and one inch in length, and their size is known to be their most intimidating trait.
Like the bumble bee, carpenter bees also have a coat of fur, although it’s slightly different. The main difference is that the fur found on the carpenter bee only covers its’ thorax, and its’ abdomen is fairly smooth, usually being a blue in colour.
The fur is also not quite as thick as the fur on a bumble bee. In colour, it is fairly uniform, with it ranging in shades from orange, to yellow, to brown. If you get close enough, you might even be able to distinguish a black spot in the middle of the thorax of the bee.
Whereas bumble bees have smooth legs, carpenter bees have pretty hairy legs. Their fuzzy legs look similar to a species called the cuckoo bumble bee.
The abdomen of the carpenter bee is fairly large, giving it the appearance of being thick and heavy. One distinguishable feature of the carpenter bee, is a distinct lack of stinger. Although the female species can sting, they don’t often venture out of their nest.
Males don’t have a stinger, but will use their loud buzz to intimidate potential predators.
Their Behaviour Patterns
Last of all, but by no means least, we’re going to take a look at the behaviour patterns of both the bumble bee and the carpenter bee.
The Bumble Bee
In behaviour, the bumble bee will live with other bumble bees in a large colony. A single queen bumble bee will have as many as two hundred bees living and working alongside her.
Usually the queen bee will spend her days sitting on the throne as it were, while her workers carry on with the day – to – day tasks.
The Carpenter Bee
Carpenter bees are different, in that they are solitary bees, meaning that unlike the bumble bee, they don’t live in colonies.
Usually the female will simply find a mate, then set up a small nest inside some wood. After this, she tends to her own offspring, and spends majority of her life cycle feeding her young, and laying eggs.
Thanks for reading!
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