The differences are
the similarities are
it remains obvious
one is a bumblebee
Okay, so, thanks to my friend Melinda, I was corrected about my post on the honey bee. Since then I have found out all sorts of interesting things about bees and non-bees that I never knew.
1. Not every big, round flying insect with yellow and black stripes is a bumblebee or honeybee.
2. Bumblebees and honeybees have “elbowed antennae”. In other words, their antennae are longer and have a joint in the middle so that that they bend back down toward the head. The flies usually have very little antennae at all with no bend in it.
3. Bees have four wings, two on each side. Flies have only two wings. I have noticed, but am not sure how common this is, that the bee folds its wings down totally while drinking while the flies wings stay spread out away from the body. (As an aside, this is how you can tell the difference between dragonflies and damselflies too. Dragonflies keep their wings out and damselflies point them up to the sky while resting.)
For more info on spotting the differences between bees and flies check out:
Despite the differences, the one similarity is that both bees and flies are great pollinators. Bee populations are definitely declining, I have only seen a couple of the big guys on my flowers this year (so far). It is also apparent that pesticides are causing a huge decrease in the population. This is an article about a “bee-kill” in Oregon that fellow blogger Just Another Nature Enthusiast told me about this morning. Evidently a company sprayed some linden trees to control the aphid population and ended up killing 1,000 bees. There had been serious limitations put on this pesticide in Oregon after a similar incident last year. The company that sprayed has had their license suspended.
It reminds me of how the pesticides almost decimated the osprey years ago. This was finally turned around by banning the pesticide in this country. Hopefully we can do this for the bee killing one. I’m not gonna hold my breath.
J.A.N.E. has also let me know that this past week was “Pollinator’s Week”. Hooray for pollinators everywhere!!!