types of bees
Bees are the world’s greatest pollinators, and they do that big time. They help with the pollination of one-third of the food we consume.
There are around 20,000 known species of bees. Antarctica is the only continent without a bee population. There are over 4,000 species in North America alone. Honeybees create a wonderful, structured community that is crucial and helpful to our food chain.
Normally, they thrive in colonies that comprise of a queen, drone, and about 20,000 to 80,000 female worker bees
Bee types, regardless of their location, usually fall into one of two major classifications: Social bees and Solitary bees. Social bees have made their way into television, film, and literature. These bees create large gatherings or colonies. Whereas, Solitary bees do not swarm, live alone, and work on their own or in very small groups. These bees have tiny nests, fly solo, and produce enough food just to feed the larva they have.
Bumble Bees, also known as big bees, are the hairy pollinators of all kinds of plants and flowers in the garden. They owe their efficiency at pollination in part to their furry coats. Unfortunately, over 1/5 of all Bumble bee populations have disappeared because of pesticides and climate change.
Honey Bees are vital in our ecosystem. They make colonies that can be as huge as 80,000 individual insects. Honey Bees are not as furry or hairy as Bumble Bees. They are also smaller in size than the Bumble Bees and have lengthier but narrower figures. What amazes us about these creatures is the amount of work it takes for them to make just one pound of honey. This production requires each bee to fly at least 90,000 miles.
Africanized Bees are also called killer bees. They were being bred with common honey bees to be a new cross-bred when they ran away from a lab in South America. Although they are dangerous and prone to attack at random, they are smaller than honey bees and not as lethal as one might think.
The Carpenter Bee is an introvert. It looks like a huge, tubby, and extremely hairy Bumble Bee. However, Carpenter Bees are blue-black, unlike the striped Bumble Bees.
Carpenter Bees create their nests inside wooden nooks, trees, or logs, including wooden benches or wooden shelves. Therefore, they are known as ‘Carpenter Bees’. Carpenter Bees are not that aggressive when it comes to stings. Male Carpenter Bees do not have stingers. But, female Carpenter Bees do have a stinger that they will use to defend their nests if necessary.
Digger Bees are usually smaller than Carpenter Bees and are also hairy. In terms of length, they are generally about 12 to 18mm. They are often seen getting out of holes in the ground where they nest.
Fortunately, there is very little danger of being stung by a Digger Bee.
There is an estimate of 1200 species of bees in the Andrena family, widely known as Mining Bees. They have a similar behavior as Digger Bees.
Mining Bees make tunnels and nests that are intricate underground. The underground nests they build are similar to housing units with each little bee having its own apartment of sorts.
Leafcutter Bees measures about 7 to 18mm in length. Leafcutter Bees are very dark and look like they are made from iron.
Leafcutter Bees create their tunnels and nests in decaying wood and in buildings insulated panels. This types of bees will use deep spaces in timeworn trees and logs.
Mason Bees share many similarities with leafcutters, except that they burrow into soft cement in buildings. These bees don’t create much damage since the holes they make are pretty small.
Similar to most solitary bees, there is little threat of being stung by a leafcutting or mason bee.
Sweat Bees are also known as ‘Alkali Bees’. These bees can be as small as 3mm in length. Sweat Bees like to build their nests in a covert way. They are so small that getting stung by them is rare. They are not aggressive and will only sting if pressed against the skin.
Plasterer Bees are a little larger than sweat bees. They are 10 to 18mm in length and fairly hairy-looking. They also burrow underground, but will also use cracks in stone and bricks to make their nests.
Yellow-Faced Bees hail from the same family as Plasterer Bees and are usually not bigger than 6mm. These bees obtained their name from their yellow-colored faces, though, sometimes they are white. There are over 60 different types of yellow-faced bees in Hawaii alone.