Newsround's guide to bees

  • 5 April 2013
Bees Image copyright Getty Images

You may love them for making honey and helping flowers grow. Or you may find them scary or just plain annoying!

But however you feel, scientists reckon bees are vital for human life here on Earth.

As they fly from plant to plant, gathering nectar to make honey, bees also help the plants reproduce.

It's thought we'd really struggle to grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet without them.

Five facts about bees

1. There are over 250 species of bee in the UK, including honeybees and bumblebees. Other less well known types include stingless and carpenter bees.

2. Not all bees are black and yellow - for example, bumblebees can have orange or red on their bodies, or even be completely black!

3. A lot of work goes into making honey - honeybees have to visit over 2 million flowers to make just one jar!

4. Bees fly at an average speed of 20mph - that's almost as fast as Usain Bolt can run!

5. Bumblebees have smelly feet - they produce oil to tell other bees which flowers they've already visited.

You can test your bee knowledge by trying out our bees quiz!

What about wasps then?

Bees are often confused with wasps... you wouldn't fancy getting close enough to spot the difference!

While bees have big, hairy bodies with flat back legs, wasps' bodies are thin and slender.

Like bees, wasps enjoy feeding on nectar and pollen, but they also eat other insects and sugary human food.

That's why you're more likely to see wasps buzzing about when you're having a picnic!

They may not make honey for us to eat but wasps also have benefits for humans.

Many insects are preyed on by wasp species, helping to keep pest numbers down.