The Buzz About Bees: A Tumblehome Quiz

A bumble bee collects nectar

Summer’s fast approaching and the pollinators are out in full force. Test your knowledge with our bee quiz (scroll down for answers)!

1. True or False? Charles Darwin used bees to prove his theory of Natural Selection.

2. Bees pollinate the vast majority of food cropsWhich of these crops is NOT pollinated by bees or insects?

  • A) Wheat
  • B) Soybeans
  • C) Vanilla
  • D) Apples

3. True or false? Honeybees are not a native species of the U.S.

4. The collapse of honeybee colonies has become a serious concern in recent years. What do scientists think is causing bee colonies to die suddenly?

  • A) pesticides
  • B) viruses
  • C) pollution from coal-fired power plants
  • D) all of the above
  • E) no one knows for sure

SONY DSC5. How many species of bees are there on Earth?

  • A) about 500
  • B) about 7,500
  • C) about 20,00
  • D) about 40,000

6. It can be easy to confuse honey bees with bumble bees. Bumble bees are often thought of as large, fuzzy bees that”bumble” about, but they actually come in many sizes. Honey bees are more uniform in size, less hair, and have the more distinct gold and white striped associated with bees. One of the more important distinctions between these two types of bees is their stingers. What is it?

  • A) Honey bees can only sting once, but bumble bees can sting repeatedly.
  • B) Bumble bees have no stingers at all, and only male (drone) honey bees have stingers.
  • C) Only the largest bumble bees have stingers, but all honey bees can sting.
  • D) Bumble bees will only sting when the are collecting pollen, while honey bees are likely to sting at any time.

7. If you find a bee hive in your yard, what should you do?

  • A) Go to the hardware store and get some insecticide and destroy it.
  • B) Leave it alone if it is in a place where humans will not accidentally disturb it.
  • C) Determine why kind of bees are in the hive and then contact a local expert to determine if the bees can be safely relocated.
  • D) Light a smoky fire near the hive to drive them away and then remove the hive.

8. True or false? Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) are called “killer bees” because they seek out people and attack them.

9. What’s the first thing you should do if you are stung by a bee?

  • A) Head immediately to the doctor’s office.
  • B) Spit on it, then cover it with a band aid.
  • C) Remove the stinger carefully, then rinse the wound with cool water.
  • D) Apply direct pressure.


1. True. The efficient development of the hive, building of the honeycomb and the division of labor among the three types of bees (queen, works, drones) all illustrated for Darwin how bees refined their environment and practices across generations to ensure their survival.

2. A. Wheat is largely self-pollinated, and pollination and fertilization often already occur even before the the flower is fully open.

3. True. Honeybees were brought to the New World from Europe both for their honey and to supplement wild pollinators for large crops. Native pollinators like wasps, hummingbirds, butterflies, bats and flies tend to be solitary and only in need of a small amount of nectar. They also tend to pollinate only specific kinds of native plants and not some imported crops like tomatoes and cucumbers. Honeybees, however, come in great numbers that will take nectar from most of the plants it comes across, which makes them ideal to assisting wild species pollinating large crops of diverse species. A recent study showed, however, that honeybees cannot make up for the loss of wild pollinators when their native habitats are destroyed.

4. E. While everyone agrees that bee populations are suffering, no single cause has emerged. Scientists hypothesize that pesticides and viruses are probably contributing to declining honeybee numbers, but a February 2013 study also revealed that climate and habitat changes over the last 120  years have destroyed many species of wild pollinators.

5. C. There are about 20,000 known species of bees.

6. A. Honey bees have barbed stingers that allow them to sting only once (then they die by pulling their insides out), while bumble bees can sting repeatedly. Honey bees, however, are more easily provoked and likely to sting than bumble bees. Only the female (worker) honey bees have stingers, while the male (drone) honey bees have none.

7. C. While it is sometimes fine to leave a hive alone if it is far removed people, it is always good to consult an expert when dealing with bees. If you have honeybees, contact a local bee keeper as those bees are increasingly endangered and might safely be moved to a safer location where they can thrive. If you aren’t sure what kind of bees you have, (carefully) take a photo and show it to a licensed beekeeper. To find a license beekeeper in your state, contact your local Department of Agriculture.

8. False. Africanized Honey Bees are hybrids of African honey bees brought to Brazil in 1956 and honey bees originally brought to the New World by Europeans. While they are much more aggressive than ordinary honey bees, they attack only when disturbed in their hives by loud noises, vibrations or other kinds of intrusions. They are not employed to pollinate commercial crops and at this time can only be found in the Southwest corner of the United States. While their stings have no more venom than a typical honey bee, AHBs are likely to sting in greater numbers and will pursue intruders over greater distances than other honey bees.

9. C. Removing the stinger carefully with your fingernail will stop the release of venom into your skin. Pressing hard on the wound when the stinger is still embedded will increase both the pain and the amount of venom you’re exposed to. A little swelling and itching at the site of the sting is normal, but if you’ve never been stung before, watch carefully for signs of a severe reaction, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives that appear as a red, itchy rash and spread to areas beyond the sting
  • Swelling of the face, throat, or mouth tissue
  • Wheezing or difficulty swallowing
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure

If any of these things occur, seek medical attention immediately.

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Jun 4, 2013 | Posted by in backyard wildlife, Bees, Insects, Nature study | Comments Off