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Are Bees Invertebrates? More Information On Bees And Beekeeping

are bees invertebrates

An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone or spine. Among the invertebrates are insects, mollusks, arachnids, crustaceans, corals, and worms. Insects are the most numerous of the vertebrates, followed by arachnids and then mollusks. Are bees invertebrates? Yes, bees are invertebrates since they are in the insect family. Invertebrates make up about 97% of the animal kingdom.

What Are The Characteristics Of Invertebrates?

Bees are included in the Arthropod phylum. This phylum comprises insects, spiders, and crabs. There are over a million species of insects in the world which makes them among the most numerous invertebrates and even animals in the world.

Body Shape


Nervous system

Are bees invertebrates?

Bees are in the insect family. Insects are invertebrates, so bees are also invertebrates. Bees, like other insects, have an exoskeleton in place of a spine. This is a shell outside of their body. Bees are social creatures, reproduce sexually, and have a symmetrical body shape. They have a nervous system that responds to external stimuli. They have stingers to defend themselves against threats.

Yes, bees are invertebrates

When answering the question "Are bees invertebrates?", the answer is that they are because they are insects. They do not have a spine and therefore are invertebrates. There are many different species of bees, but all of them are insects and invertebrates. Invertebrates vary greatly with differences among families and even among the species within the same families. There are so many species of bee, and each is unique and different.

Bees are a type of flying insect known for their role in pollination and producing honey. They are among the beneficial invertebrates. This is as opposed to invertebrates that are considered pests. More invertebrates are beneficial than are pests although the ones that are considered pests can wreak havoc on agriculture. Although bees are beneficial, some of them have stingers and could be considered pests because they can sting. The Africanized bee may be a pest because they can produce thousands of stings from a colony and lead to the death of the person or animal that is stung by them.

Some bees are solitary while others live in colonies. The bee that people are most familiar with, the honeybee, is a highly social creature which appears to communicate and work together as a unit in maintaining the hive and colony. Most other bees, such as the carpenter bee, leaf cutter bee, and mason bee, are solitary. The female builds a nest and does not have worker bees helping her.

Most solitary bees nest in the ground. This may be in wood or in the mud. The nest consists of cells in which females lay the eggs in. The parent does not provide care to the young once they lay the eggs, and usually dies within a day or two of laying the eggs. Solitary bees are either stingerless or unlikely to sting. The males emerge first, and they can mate as soon as the female emerges.

Why is it important that bees are invertebrates?

It should interest anybody who would like to know about bees in their classification among animals. It is important to learn about bees if you care about bees. The question, "Are bees invertebrates?" may have been answered by now, but why should you care? Bees are a varied and interesting animal. The more you know about them, the more you can impress people with your knowledge.

If you are going to be a beekeeper, you should be able to answer questions about the characteristics of bees. If you are going to be an entomologist, then you should also be able to answer the question "Are bees invertebrates?" This is general knowledge about bees and is useful for people who are interested in bees to know the answer to.

are bees invertebrates

Since among the species of bees, their traits and characteristics vary, it is useful to know which traits and characteristics they all have in common. There are about 20,000 species of bees, and they are all invertebrates. The invertebrates vary their characteristics and traits among themselves as much as the bees do within their family.

Anybody who wants to know about bees should know that they are invertebrates. Some are social; some are not. Some are sting less others are not. Some are deadly others are not. But one characteristic they have in common is they are all invertebrates. This is very useful information to people wishing to learn or know as much as they can about bees.

It is a question that has a simple answer. Are bees invertebrates? Yes. All insects, including bees, are invertebrates. They do not have a spine, they have an exoskeleton.  If anybody asks, you can affirmatively answer the question. It is knowledge that will serve you well if you want to know as much about bees as is possible.

How can I use this information?

You can share your information about invertebrates, bees and answer the question "Are bees invertebrates?" to anybody asking the question.  It is useful to know that an invertebrate is an animal without a spinal column, insects are invertebrates and bees are insects. If you would like to share the information with your children, when teaching about bees you could do so.

Bees are interesting creatures. They are invertebrates which means you can squash them easily. The exoskeleton they have in place of a spine is relatively fragile.  You would want to be careful when handling them if you would handle them as if you decided to become a beekeeper. It is useful to know that you could easily harm the bee due to its being an invertebrate.

If you are a student of entomology, you should know that insects are invertebrates and be able to answer the question "Are bees invertebrates?"  If you are a member of the public, you can add to your trivial knowledge-base by being able to answer the question. Some children are fascinated with insects and bees, and they would find this information to be useful to them as well.

The answer to the question, "Are bees invertebrates?" is a matter of trivia. It is useful information for anybody wanting to know about the make-up of a bee's body.  You can use the information to impress people with your knowledge. It is an interesting trivial fact. There is more to the question that is beyond the scope of this article, but if interested you can research the topic more thoroughly.

are bees invertebrates

The answer to whether bees are invertebrates is a simple "yes." However, I have explained that there is a wide range of differences between the invertebrates.  There is also a wide range of differences between the varying bees. Honeybees are the most well-known of the bees. However, the other bees have characteristics that people do not associate with the honeybee.

Examples of this would be that some are solitary, they do not live in colonies, they do not socialize, they do not make honey, most do not sting.  If you're interested in learning about bees, not just honeybees, then you should explore the topic more thoroughly. Bees are beautiful members of creation, and yes, they are invertebrates, they are insects, and interested people should study them.

The characteristic that all invertebrates share is that they do not have a spine. Some have exoskeletons, such as the bee. Others have shells, such as the crab. Others, like the slug, are merely mushy and don't have a skeleton. The bees are among the most interesting of all the insects and invertebrates. And the most beautiful.

Where Does Bee Pollen Come From And Its Nutritional Benefits

Bee pollen, also referred to as bee bread, is a product created through the combined efforts of plants and bees. But where does bee pollen come from? It is collected from beehives and consumed as a nutritionally rich health supplement. It is used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions.

Where Does Bee Pollen Come From?

When asking the question where does bee pollen come from, it's important to note that bee pollen is not the same as plant pollen-the substance you are probably more familiar with from biology class and from your allergy nightmares.

Plant pollen is the male seed of flowers and is created by plants to spread and propagate their species. They are tiny particles formed in the heart of the flower blossom. Every variety of flower and many orchard fruits and agricultural food crops create dustings of pollen.

Forager bees from several bee species land on these plants to collect the pollen. As they travel from plant to plant, bees sprinkle pollen particles on other plants, pollinating them. Bees also keep pollen to bring back to their hives and use as their primary energy source.

When foraging bees bring the pollen back to the hive, they pass it off to other worker bees, who pack it into cells. The pollen is mixed with nectar and bee salivary secretions, creating what we know as bee pollen, or bee bread. This final substance becomes the primary source of protein for the hive.

What Are The Nutritional Components Of Bee Pollen?

where does bee pollen come from

Like honey, the exact chemical composition of bee pollen depends on what type of plants the worker bees are using as their pollen source. The bee pollen can also vary depending on time and geographic area of collection. Although there is no specific chemical composition, the average composition is usually 40-60% simple sugars (fructose and glucose), 20-60% proteins, 3% minerals and vitamins, 1-32% fatty acids, and 5% diverse other components. Bee pollen, much like honey, contains consistently low microbial biomass.

Nutrients commonly found in bee pollen include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Free amino acids
  • Folic acid
  • Rutin
  • A variety of micronutrients

One of the most interesting facts about bee pollen is that it cannot be synthesized in a laboratory. Many chemical analyses of bee pollen have been made but there are still some elements in bee pollen that science cannot identify. The bees add some mysterious "extra" of their own. These unidentifiable compounds that scientists are still trying to identify could be the key to unlocking the many health benefits of bee pollen consumption.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Bee Pollen For Humans?

honey on bread

Now that we've answered the question, "where does bee pollen come from", why do we collect bee pollen? And what does it do for us? Bee pollen has been employed by a variety of cultures in their traditional medicine. It is considered one of nature's most nourishing foods and contains a broad spectrum of the nutrients required by humans. About half of bee pollen protein is in the form of free amino acids ready for direct use by the body.

It is important to recognize that one teaspoon of bee pollen takes one bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather. Each bee pollen pellet contains over two million flower pollen grains and one teaspoonful contains over 2.5 billion grains of flower pollen. A tremendous amount of work has gone into the bee pollen by the time humans consume it, by both the pollinating plant, and the bees that transformed the pollen into its final form. This makes for a dense and potent potential nutritional supplement.

Correcting Nutritional Deficiencies

Some of the strongest connections researchers have been able to make between bee pollen and positive health benefits in humans are in reversing nutritional deficiencies. Bee pollen is effective at lessening gaps and shortcomings in the human diet.

Because of the bee pollen's completeness as a nutritious food, it can make up for much of the nutritional deficiencies and other diet-derived maladies growing increasingly common in the modern world. These benefits can be especially important in nursing mothers, growing children, the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

The specific protein in bee pollen is useful for humans. Such highly assimilable protein can contribute significantly to a person's protein needs. Bee pollen contains more amino acids by volume than beef, eggs or cheese.

Longevity And Anti-Aging Benefits

Extensive research has been conducted on bee pollen and its potential benefits in geriatric medicine. It has shown the ability to slow down many harmful effects of the aging process when used regularly. In some cases, it is believed to have reversed problems often associated with aging.

Some benefits of bee pollen include cognitive improvements in areas like memory and concentration. Other benefits may include improved metabolism and cardiovascular function, two body processes that often degrade with age.

Bee pollen has also been used to decrease or reverse superficial signs of aging through its anti-oxidative properties. These improvements include the reduction of wrinkles and dark spots on the skin and a general improvement in the vitality and youthfulness of the skin's appearance.

When applied externally, bee pollen can revitalize and rejuvenate the complexion and may even help to reduce acne. Its antimicrobial qualities and its high concentration of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA can help to increase blood flow and rejuvenate damaged skin.

Antibacterial and Antibiotic Properties

Bee pollen exists in a preservative environment, meaning its composition hinders the growth of fungi and bacteria. The same conditions that allow you to keep a bottle of honey in your cupboard for months without it spoiling, allow bee pollen to remain safe for consumption for long periods of time.

The interaction of bee pollen with bacteria and other harmful organisms may go beyond not creating an environment conducive to their growth. Some elements present in bee pollen appear to exhibit antibacterial properties and might help prevent infectious diseases like the common cold or flu.

Some of these same qualities of bee pollen also make it effective in aiding recuperation from illness. Its use has shown to have a wide variety of positive impacts on the human immune system. Bee pollen supplementation has been shown to increase the efficacy and lessen the side effects associated with chemotherapy for cancer. Patients given bee pollen experienced less nausea, had higher antibody production and slept better during their treatments than a control group of chemotherapy patients.

Cardiovascular And Blood Function Improvements

Bee pollen has increased hemoglobin levels in patients suffering from anemia. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to the body's organs and tissues and transports carbon dioxide from the organs and tissues back to the lungs. An increase in both white and red blood cells has been observed in patients while taking bee pollen.

It has also been shown to normalize blood serum cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol when taken regularly. Pollen products have been used in many cultures, including as a traditional Chinese tonic, to grow new blood cells and improve capillary strength.

Bee pollen is 15 percent lecithin by volume. Lecithin helps dissolve and flush fat from the body. This process helps lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL) while helping to increase the helpful high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in the blood. Maintaining desirable ratios of LDL and HDL levels helps to protect against high cholesterol and heart disease.

Energy, Athletic Performance And Weight

Supplementing with bee pollen improves energy levels and metabolic function. Increases in strength and endurance in elite athletes have been associated with pollen supplementation. Renowned German naturalist Francis Huber called bee pollen "the greatest bodybuilder on Earth."

Bee pollen is high in phenylalanine, a natural amino acid that the body requires and can act as an appetite suppressant. It acts on your appestat, the control center in the body that signals fullness and hunger. Phenylalanine is a similar substance to the man-made chemical present in many over-the-counter weight loss supplements.


Supplementing with bee pollen can reduce pollen allergies. In a process known as desensitization, small amounts of the allergen are administered to stimulate the patient's own immune system to produce antibodies that will eliminate the allergic reaction. It is a process similar to being vaccinated against infectious diseases.

The process of desensitization should be undertaken gradually and with supervision from a medical professional but studies show it can have lasting and significant positive effects on pollen allergy sufferers.

Is Bee Pollen Safe?

where does bee pollen come from

You should consult with your doctor or a medical professional before consuming any supplement. Unadulterated bee pollen is a natural substance that is generally assumed to be safe. People with severe pollen allergies should use caution when consuming bee pollen as large doses can cause anaphylactic shock and other allergic responses.

As with any other supplement, side effects can occur due to adulterations or harmful additives to the product. Make sure that your bee pollen is from a reputable source and is the genuine bee-gathered product.


The positive health benefits of bee pollen supplementation are wide ranging and still being explored by scientists and health professionals. This potent food and supplement, created through the hard work of plants and honey bees, has the potential to create positive change for humankind. Now you know how to answer the question "where does bee pollen come from" next time it's asked!

What Bees Bite – Learn More Facts About Bees And Beekeeping

what bees bite

Bees are often maligned for being stinging nuisances, but many people do not realize that bees have another defensive option that is just as effective. According to zoologists, some bees can bite their quarry if faced with a dire situation and threat.

These "stingless" bees use their teeth and mandibles to injure their prey or induce paralysis through envenomation. To understand stingless bees, it is necessary to examine what bees bite in terms of species, and the prey they are most effective against.

what bees bite

What Bees Bite: A Species Overview

There is a variety of different species of bees throughout the world, with some estimates reaching as high as 20,000 unique types. Some bees are known for having massive stingers while others are believed to be non-aggressive.

However, new scientific discoveries suggest that there are several species of bees that rely upon biting for defensive and offensive applications.


Perhaps the most famous example of a bee that uses biting, is the common honeybee. Honey bees are usually noteworthy for their moderately aggressive use of stinging as a method of harming human beings, and other animals alike.

Yet, researchers have discovered that honeybees can also use a potent bite to paralyze and harm invaders to their colony. While honeybees are the most ordinary species that bites, it is not the only one.

Trigona Hyalinata

Trigona Hyalinata

Another bee that uses a bite to harm its enemies is the Trigona hyalinata, a bee native to Brazil. Unlike the honeybee which is known for using its stinger, the Trigona hyalinata is a species that uses biting as a primary form of attack. The stinger of the Trigona hylinata is merely vestigial, and it is not used by the bee.

Instead, it has ten teeth that are arranged on its mandibles, allowing the bee to generate a powerful and very painful bite used to incapacitate and kill enemy bugs. Over a dozen other species of bees that are related to the Trigona species in Brazil, have been studied for their preference to bite their attackers rather than sting them.


Xylocopa bees are another species that prefers its bite as the primary means of defending their colony. These bees are commonly known as the carpenter bee. Although these bees are mostly concerned with the building and upkeep of their massive hives and colonies, they must also have the ability to defend themselves.

Male carpenter bees do not even have a stinger, and their bite is the only means of attack. Females, on the other hand, have a stinger and the ability to bite.

honeybees in a hive

Do Bees Bite Human Beings?

Yes, there are indeed records of humans bitten by bees. While bee bites are something that can be seen as harmful, the fact is that the recent discovery of honeybee bites and venom may hold benefits for human beings.

what bees bite

Using Bites For Human Benefit

When researching what bees bite, zoologists found that honeybees have a unique bite. Not only do they cause pain to their victims, but the bites also cause temporary paralysis.

The mechanism that creates this paralysis comes from a low toxicity anesthetic that is known as 2-heptanone. While the bees use the 2-heptanone, also known as 2-H, for chemical marking, an alarm response and numbness, only the final reason is beneficial for humans.

The 2-heptanone substance can cause local numbness, allowing it to be developed into a local anesthetic. With more development and research, it is possible that the 2-heptanone can be made into medicine that could be used for mammals that need to have a lighter anesthetic. This could be a replacement for other local anesthetics to which people have allergies.

Bee Awareness

While it may be concerning to some that bees can bite and sting them, humans are not likely victims of bee bites. Even the most aggressive forms of bees that have been investigated here are not as harmful as those bees that sting.

What bees bite often depends on the threat that faces the hive or colony. Overall, it is important to remember that bees want to build their hive more than they want to attack others. Keeping one's distance and respecting the hive is an important step towards bee safety.

Can Bees Fly? The Physics Behind Such Wonder of Nature

can bees fly

It may seem obvious that since you usually see a bee airborne, it must be flying. Logic dictates that bees can fly. But then, why is this topic so controversial? Why is it that even scientists are in disagreement over the question: can bees fly? It is a good thing that advancements in modern technology have finally given us some perspective on the topic. Previous attempts have been in vain, because a bee flaps its wings so rapidly that it was difficult to detect, or even study their movements while in the air.

With a combination of a robotic model of a bee wing and high-speed digital photography, scientists have unraveled the baffling mystery of how bees fly. The earlier methods of relating aerodynamics of helicopters, and airplanes have been unsuccessful in trying to describe flight in animals as compared to robotics prototypes that can flap wings freely. This new approach has been vital for scientists to make a significant breakthrough on the subject.

Unique Features Of A Bee That Explain How They Can Fly

can bees fly

Before we analyze the scientific explanation of a bee's flight, let us acknowledge what is noticeable when a bee is flying. Has it ever occurred to you to question where the buzzing sound comes from when bees are flying? Well, the buzzing sound comes from the rapid flapping wings of a bee. A bee has two wings on either side of its body. The four wings are held in place by hamuli, teeth-like structures that resemble a comb. This wing setup of a bee gives it greater lift when flying because the wings held by the teeth create a sufficient amount of surface.

The thorax muscles of a bee squeeze in two directions, either in an up-down motion or from left to right. The rhythmic movement of the muscles alternates in the same way you breathe rhythmically. The only difference is instead of air being sucked in, the bee uses the motions created by the rhythm to make its wings flap. This motion results in the bee's wings flapping at a faster rate and finally lifting off.

How Science Explains Bees Flying

As mentioned earlier, while the question "can bees fly?" may seem silly, scientists have never really understood how. The wings of a bee are fixed to their bodies. Hence, it makes little sense how bees can be airborne. If bees can fly, that would mean they have to move their rigid wings back and forth to do so. However, bee wings are small compared to their body size, such that even at a rate of 230 beats in a second, it should be impossible to fly. Using high definition cameras to record the process of bees flying finally solved the mystery for scientists.

The key to figuring out how bees can fly is through studying their wings. Scientists think bees should not be able because their wings are rigid and attached closely their bodies. To that point, experimental videos have shown that instead of being rigid, the wings rotate and twist when they are in flight mode. This rhythmic motion creates enough energy to allow the bees to fly. Other insects have a more efficient method of flight than bees because their back-and-forth motion is longer. This causes them to have slower wing beat rates as compared to bees, and that is why other insects can get to higher lift-offs with little effort.

Bees use more effort to fly from one place to another. Bees, especially honeybees, use more power when flying since they carry huge amounts of pollen and nectar they collect to make honey.

a group of bee flying

How Bees stay Airborne With Such Tiny Wings

In the 1930s, bees seemed to defy logic by flying despite the appearance that their wings were too small for their sizes and could not give them enough energy to lift them up and maintain them during flight. But despite the obvious confusion bees have caused for scientists, bees have always been flying and couldn't care less what humans think about them.

Recent mathematical analysis has shown a more holistic picture that explains how bees, small birds, and other insects with wings fly. In the years leading up to 1992, scientists presumed that the way bees fly is the same way airplanes also fly: the continuous airflow over the wings generates the liftoff energy necessary for flying. However, observations made in 1996 showed that bees have airflow resembling tiny tornadoes that form leading-edge vortices (LEVs).

Scientists assumed that the discovery of the leading edge vortices and the tornado-like drafts were the big break they needed to understand how bees can fly. However, after doing more research and experimentations, scientists were astonished to discover that these leading edge vortices add no extra energy to contribute to a bee's flight. Instead, they found out that the LEVs only give the wings a more acute angle that allows bees to fly without stalling.
After this discovery, they created several mathematical models with differing mechanisms creating lift and compared them to the previous results from original experiments. This technique gave them a more concrete ground to understand how can bees fly.

What do the Tiny Tornadoes do?

The leading edge vortices add no strength that contributes to the lift-off of a bee. This shocked many scientists and prompted them to run more tests. With time, they discovered that the vortices give the bee a sharper angle during flight which allows the bee to fly along a sharper route towards the sky. The LEVs also provide a swift airflow over the wings of a bee which indirectly aids in the liftoff.

Assuming that a bee was in the air, and its leading edge vortices for whatever reason stopped spinning, the bee would be suspended in the air with no motion. The change in pressure between the underside and the top of the wings that gives it a lift when flying would drop. As a result--we all know what the force of gravity does to objects suspended in the air--the bee would drop. In simpler terms, the purpose of the leading edge vortices is to prevent this suspension from happening when the bee is in the air and thus avoid any cases of a bee falling.

a flying bee

So, Can Bees Fly?

Seeing is believing; we've all seen it that bees fly. Counterintuitively, depending on their body structure among other factors, the ability of bees to fly has been a confusing subject for many scholars and scientists. The many kinds of research done have swayed speculation in various directions. The following are assumptions and facts you can count on to comprehend how a bee can fly:

  1. Science explains that the buzzing sound produced by bees comes from the flapping of their wings when flying. Also, sometimes bees create this buzzing sound to communicate with each other. Some people speculate that this communication often shows that a bee is trying to convey a message that it's agitated or distressed. Scientists have also observed that bumblebees give off a buzz not to fly but to produce enough vibration to extract pollen from closed flowers.
  2. Traditionally, people argued that bees don't fly, but levitate around in a motion that mimics flight and makes the human eye believe they are flying. This argument was disregarded as just a myth because there was no sufficient evidence to support it.
  3. There is no certain consensus on how can bees fly. Creation of a tornado-like airflow is one experiment scientists have conducted to bring light into the question. Comparing a flying bee and an airplane is another way to look for answers to how a bee can fly. But then, this technological approach will more likely to lead to a conclusion that bees seem like they are following the laws of physics and motion when flying. The balance that enables planes to fly is the lift, weight, drag, and thrust. These factors also apply to bees since they put in the effort during liftoff despite their large body size to wing ratio. If you compare the size of a plane to its wings, you can see that a bee is not defying the laws of science and can fly the same way as a plane. A plane can stay in the air because its wings press the air beneath them which makes the plane push upward. Similarly, the vortices on a bee cause them to move in a sharp upward manner by creating tiny tornadoes or mini hurricanes that have a lower pressure than the air below the wings, which pushes the bees upward.


While it may seem odd to even ask whether bees can fly, this is rather a fascinating subject. As mentioned, there are a lot of theories out there. However, it is safe to sum it up by saying that science is catching up to the secret behind the flight of bees. Although bees require more effort to attain enough lift to fly, they use wind and LEVs, enabling them to move effortlessly even when they are carrying loads of nectar and pollen back to their hives for honey making.

Are Bees Bugs? – Understanding the Difference Between Bugs and Insects

are bees bugs

The pollination habits of bees, for example, affect somewhere between 50%-80% of the world's food supply. But are bees bugs? The question "are bees bugs," is actually a more common question than one might think, and for good reason. "Bug" is a word that is so often heard in everyday language. It can even come with a negative connotation, and has the tendency to leave people with a creepy-crawly feeling when thought about. As a colloquial word, it describes any time of small, crawling insect that is, more often than not, a nuisance. Some insects fall into this sense of the definition: ones that are aggressive, bite or sting; ones that build their colonies in inconvenient areas like too close to human-inhabited areas; or the ones that make their way into our food storage. However, insects are also an incredibly important part of our ecosystem.

What is a Bug?

Are bees bugs? What are bugs? True "bugs" are listed in the order called Hemiptera. Insects in this order are different from other insect orders, for example, Hymenoptera (ants and bees), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), or Diptera (flies and mosquitoes). True bugs include, but are not limited to, aphids, cicadas, stink bugs, and assassin bugs. Now it's true that all bugs are insects. However, not all insects are bugs. Bees are also insects, but they belong in an entirely different order called Hymenoptera. So scientifically, no- bees are not bugs. But why is this?

Under a microscope, the many differences between bugs and other insects become clear. It all comes down to structural differences in the body parts of these insects.

The Differences

The key difference between true bugs and other insects lies in their mouthparts. The drinking part of the mouth is called a proboscis (said like 'pro-boss-kiss') and the mouthpart of bugs are specifically designed for piercing and sucking. Many bugs feed on plant fluids, and so, their mouths are structured to penetrate plant tissues. Some Hemipterans, like aphids, can badly damage or kill plants by feeding in this way. Their mouths are specialized to suck up fluid, and while most bugs drink from plants, there are some species, such as bed bugs, that prefer to drink from other animals. Bugs like this can be bothersome to humans, risking health issues or causing painful or itchy bites after being fed on. Qualities such as this are one is of the reasons humans have come to think of bugs as bothersome.

The proboscis of true bugs are long in shape, straw-like in appearance, and are not retractable. Bees, on the other hand, have proboscises that retract by rolling up. This allows insects outside the Hemiptera order to move their food from the source up into their mouths- a quality not had by true bugs.

Another notable difference between true bugs and other insects, is the design of their wings. The wings on Hemipterans are characterized by folding over on top of one another when at rest. Some members lack hind wings all together. Looking at a picture of a bee when it's not in flight, you can see that the wings do not cross. When at rest, the wings fold flat against the sides of the body, and don't overlap in the way that true bugs wings do.

Not Every Insect Is A Bug

flying bee bug

While every insect is not a bug, all bugs are insects. The reason insects are so often confused with bugs is due mostly to the system we use for classification. Insect is the class all the qualifying species discussed in this article fall into. From there, the insects are further divided up into different orders, families, genuses, and species. The closer you get down the line of classification, the more related the species found there are. For example, bees, ants, and wasps are often grouped together because they are categorized under the same Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, and Suborder.

Directly beneath the class Insect ,there are thirty separate orders including Hymenoptera (ants, bees, etc.) and Hemiptera (bugs!). Looking at it in terms of a chart, it is very easy to see that all bugs fall under the class Insect, but not all insects fall under the order Bug.

So Why The Overuse of the Word Bug?

In layman's terms, it's just simpler. By the official definition, only a small group of insects are true bugs, but common use of the word has resulted in both groups being lumped together under the same label. Many scientific experts and train entomologists will use the term "bug" to refer to any range of small creatures, especially if they are speaking with the general public or a group that might not know the difference. The word has become a colloquial one; when used in normal conversation, everyone understands what the speaker is saying.

In scientific settings, however, the word bug means something entirely different. When scientists use the word in this context, they are referring to a very specific group of insects with very specific characteristics. If you are interested in bees, or insects as a whole, it is important for your to understand what separates these groups. It will give you a better understanding of how the species are set apart and what makes them unique from one another.

But the overuse of the word bug has had somewhat of a negative effect on the way people view insects. It can be clear in the terms often used to describe something annoying: the idea of bugging someone by pestering them, for example. It paints the picture of insects being nothing but a nuisance. When they get too close to houses, homeowners call an exterminator to eradicate the problem. But the problem with that concept is that insects, and bees especially, are so important to the surrounding environment we cannot get along without them.

The Environmental Importance of Bees

bee in the fresh flower

Bees can be an intimidating animal, and can often strike fear in the hearts of people who do not understand them. They swarm in large numbers and their stings can be painful. There is even the risk of life-threatening allergic reactions if someone is not being careful when handling them. When their nests come too close to where humans live, they are often killed and their nests destroyed. But bees are nothing to be afraid of. These insects are often very misunderstood and their importance to the world we call home overlooked.

Bees are responsible for the majority of the world's plant pollination. The impact they make directly supports crop and fruit farming industries. However, colony numbers are dwindling with every passing year and scientist aren't exactly sure why. What they are certain of is the devastating effect losing the bee populations will have on the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Pollination will decrease, directly influencing farming.

Are Bees Bugs?

The term bug, commonly used to describe an insect, is misused and misunderstood. While there are millions of insects species, only a handful of them are truly considered bugs. The rest belong to a large collection of other orders that separate them based on the structure of their bodies.

When trying to identify whether an insect falls into the bug category, you need to look at how it's structured. Wings of bugs will overlap when at rest, crisscrossing over their backs. The stink bug is a good example of this because it has an almost diamond shape on its back where the wings lay on top of one another, creating a slightly darker spot in its coloring. When looking at bee species, it is easy to see that their wings lay flat on their either side, unlike bugs. Looking at the structure of an insect's mouth under a microscope will also tell you if it's a bug. Mouths of bugs won't retract or roll, they will be straight and resemble a drinking straw.

However, the word bug is so engrained in our everyday language you can pretty much describe anything as one and people will understand what you're taking about. When someone out in the word says 'bug' they're usually referring to a small crawling or flying insect, and in that sense of the definition, bees are bugs.

But for scientists, referring to a bee as a bug can be problematic. Not only is it placing them in the incorrect group, the overuse of the word as a descriptor of something annoying paints them in a different light. While they do sting and can cause pain, the ecosystem so depends on them for pollination we could not function without them.

So the next time you're outside having a picnic and a bee lands near you, stop at think. Are bees bugs?

That little creature is so important to creating so many of the things that made your picnic even possible. All of the food you're eating and the surrounding plants would not be there if not for the bees. So don't think of it as 'just another annoying bug' and kill it or shoo it away. Let it be, the entire balance of the ecosystem will thank you.