Fallacy: All Bees Live in Hives

A fallacy is something that is not true.

All bees live in hives is a fallacy.

Do all bees live in hives? No, not all bees live in hives. There are social bees and solitary bees.

A colony of bees—many thousands of bees—are social bees that live together in a hive. The Bumblebee and the Honeybee (or Honey Bee) are social bees, living in colonies, and living in hives.

However, solitary bees do not live in hives. 

Most bee species are, in fact, solitary bees.

Mediterranean Wood-Boring Bee – solitary bee

Solitary bees live in the ground, or in a small nest, or in old beetle holes, or even in empty snail shells. 

Solitary bees still collect pollen, but not in baskets on their legs, like Honeybees. Solitary bees collect pollen on their legs or under their abdomen (stomach). 

Solitary bees are usually polylectic, which means that they collect pollen from many different plant species, whereas Honeybees collect pollen from only one or two plant species. 

Some species of solitary bees include the Mediterranean Wood-Boring Bee (Lithurgus chrysurus), the Violet Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa violacea), and the Small Scissor Bee (Chelostoma campanularum). 

Violet Carpenter Bee – solitary bee
European Honeybee – social bee

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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