The bee has been known for producing the honey that you may eat with biscuits, and beeswax that can be incorporated into many essentials that we use in our everyday lives. At one point they have been in the running for becoming extinct and many people had to be careful when seeing one to make sure they did not harm it. Luckily, that is no longer a concern. They are out of the danger zone and back to where they need to be. But, have you ever wondered, do bees come in different shapes and sizes? The answer is yes. There are about 16,000 species of bees that are known.
With having a variety of different bee species, have you ever thought to yourself, is there a kind of bee that is the biggest? Well let me tell you this, there is! Over in Indonesia, the Megochile Pluto was spotted for the first time since 1981. It almost quadruples the size of the average honey bee. Now that’s a big bee! The Megochile Pluto measured at least an inch and a half long with a tongue of close to an inch.
These winged creatures were first discovered by Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist and explorer who was known for the evolution of natural selection. Wallace would travel everywhere, ranging from the East Indies, and Brazil. While in Indonesia, he stumbled upon a unknown species that later became known as the Megochile Pluto. These bees were later named ‘Wallace’s giant bee’ because of their unbelievable size in appearance.
Many people would be frightened to see this kind of bee. However, others think it is fascinating to see “this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore — to have real proof right there in front of us in the wild” (npr.org). What’s intriguing is they are not just unique when it comes to there size, but how they build there habitats. Normal bees build their homes out of beeswax in which they produce themselves. Inside their homes, are hexagonal cells that contain pollen, nectar, and honey. Megochile Pluto’s use use “resin and wood to create tunnels and cells in existing nests, carving out their own living space away from the termites” (npr.org).
Even though these bees have reappeared back into our generation that we live in now, they are still one of the rarest kinds of bees. It is crucial that scientists keep an eye on them so that they can keep reappearing and are able to be here for more generations.