It’s no secret that bees are important for our ecosystem, but sometimes they can be a nuisance when they take up residence in our homes and gardens.
To help you identify the different types of bees you should be aware of, let’s dive into the details about the most common species found around your home.
26 Types of Bees You Need to Know About
Bees play an important role in the health and sustainability of our environment, providing crucial pollination and keeping ecosystems balanced.
While most people know about honeybees, there are actually many different kinds of bees that we should be aware of.
Here are some of the most common bees you should know about:
1. Western Honeybee
The Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera) is probably the best-known type of bee, as they are responsible for producing honey as well as pollinating plants and flowers.
They have black bodies with three yellow stripes on their thoraxes.
Western honey bees generally live in colonies, which can range from 10-60 thousand individuals; these colonies will often inhabit hollow trees or man-made structures like birdhouses or beehives.
When provoked, some honeybees will sting, but it is usually only done when they feel threatened or disturbed.
Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are larger than honeybees and vary in color depending on the species.
Most have yellow and black stripes along their abdomens, with various shades of orange and red around their heads.
These bees are generally docile and rarely sting unless provoked, making them beneficial garden visitors who can help pollinate your flowers.
Bumblebees tend to live alone or in small groups of up to fifty individuals that nest underground or in abandoned rodent nests.
3. Hairy-Footed Flower Bee
The Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) is covered with brown hairs all over its body except for its abdomen, which is black with white bands at the tip.
This bee typically nests within tunnels made out of mud which it builds itself.
Because of this behavior, it makes an excellent pollinator for wildflowers since they land directly onto the flower’s reproductive organs while gathering nectar and pollen.
The hairy-footed flower bee rarely stings, so don’t be afraid if one lands on you!
4. Ashy Mining Bee
The Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) has a metallic blue-gray sheen over its body and prefers nesting sites among open areas such as meadows or pastures rather than wooded areas like other mining bees.
They feed mainly on pollen from wildflowers but also collect nectar for food sources.
Like other mining bees, they dig tunnels into the bare ground, where they lay their eggs individually before sealing each tunnel off afterward.
This bee does not sting unless scared, so there’s no need to worry if you see one around your home or garden.
5. Tawny Mining Bee
Tawny mining bees are about 1/4 inch long and reddish-brown in color with yellow markings near their heads. They have long antennae and short furry bodies.
Tawny mining bees can be found in gardens from April through June, where they live in burrows they dig into the soil.
They are important pollinators because they feed on nectar from flowers, which helps spread pollen between plants.
Tawny Mining Bees do not typically sting unless provoked or threatened.
6. Ivy Bee
Ivy bees are small black bees that measure around 1/3 inch in length with white bands across their abdomens and stripes along the sides of their bodies.
They can be found in gardens from April through August and prefer flat-topped flowers like daisies for nectar or ivy for nesting materials.
Ivy bees are important pollinators since they help spread pollen between plants as they feed on nectar from flowers.
These bees do not typically sting unless provoked or threatened.
7. Yellow-Faced Bee
Yellow-faced Bees have yellow markings on their face, black bodies, and white stripes along the sides of their abdomens.
These bees measure about 3/8 inch long and can be spotted during late spring through early summer, gathering nectar from wildflowers such as thistle, clover, mints, vetch, lupine, mustard, sunflower, and aster blooms.
Yellow-faced bees help pollinate these plants by transferring pollen between them as they feed on nectar from flowers. However, these bees do not typically sting humans unless provoked or threatened.
8. Furrow Bee
Furrow Bees get their name because they dig furrows into sandy soils while searching for food sources (nectar) or nesting materials (dirt).
These bees have chocolate-brown bodies with a whitish stripe along each side of the abdomen.
Males usually have yellow spots at the end of their abdomens, while females have a red spots at the end of theirs.
Furrow bees can be seen gathering nectar from wildflowers such as thistles during late spring through early summer months but rarely sting humans unless provoked or threatened.
9. Carpenter Bee
These are large bees with shiny black abdomens and yellow markings on their thoraxes.
Carpenter bees do not typically live in colonies; rather, they nest in wood and can cause damage to structures like wooden decks and siding. They do not usually sting unless provoked.
10. Sweat Bee
Sweat bees get their name from their attraction to human perspiration.
They vary in color from metallic green to reddish-brown and have hairy bodies that help collect pollen from flowers.
Sweat bees rarely sting but will do so if threatened.
11. Squash Bee
These solitary ground-dwelling bees look similar to honeybees but have longer antennae and facial hairs.
They feed on nectar and pollinate squash plants as well as other cucurbit crops such as pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.
Squash bees generally do not sting unless provoked or threatened.
12. Mason Bee
Mason bees are solitary cavity-nesting bees which means they don’t form hives like honeybees do but instead build individual nests inside hollowed reeds or similar cavities found outdoors.
They come in different colors, from blues to metallic greens but are often recognized by their furry abdomens covered with white hairs for collecting pollen from flowers for food for their offspring.
Mason Bees rarely sting humans unless provoked or cornered and can be observed close up without fear of being stung.
13. Box-Headed Blood Bee
This bee is one of the largest species in the world, measuring up to two inches long! They typically make nests in tree branches and build large hives on them.
Despite their size, they are largely harmless to humans as they rarely sting unless threatened or their hive is disturbed.
However, it’s important to note that these bees can spread diseases such as malaria and dengue fever if their hives are not kept clean.
14. Wool Carder Bees
These bees get their name from their habit of collecting wool fibers from plants to line the walls of their nests.
They also have a distinctive appearance with a white face and yellow stripes down the back.
Wool carder bees can sting if provoked but are largely harmless. However, they can sometimes be confused with bumblebees due to their similar size and coloration.
15. Pantaloon Bees
Pantaloon bees have a unique cylindrical shape and resemble small ants more than traditional bees.
They usually nest underground in sandy soils or hollow stems and feed primarily on pollen from flowers like daisies or buttercups.
They do not have a stinger, so they pose no threat to humans. However, they can still be quite noisy when flying around looking for nectar!
16. Leafcutter Bee
Leafcutter bees get their name from the fact that they use circular pieces of leaves to construct nests in hollow stems or other natural cavities.
Their bodies are black or dark brown with yellow stripes on the abdomen.
However, a distinguishable feature is the long hairy tufts on the underside of each leg which give them an “unkempt” look!
Leafcutter bees do not generally pose any threat to humans as they are non-aggressive and will only sting if provoked.
17. Blueberry Bee
The blueberry bee is a solitary bee and can often be found near blueberry plants in North America, especially in the eastern part of the continent.
They are black with yellow-orange stripes on their abdomens and have short tongues, which make it difficult for them to feed from long-tubed flowers like petunias and daisies.
Despite this, they are incredibly important pollinators for many different plant species and play an essential role in keeping our ecosystems healthy.
18. Africanized Bee
Africanized bees, also known as “killer” or “killer bees,” were first introduced to Brazil in 1957 after an attempt to breed a bee that was better suited to tropical climates.
This crossbreeding has resulted in extremely aggressive behavior. They are much more defensive than other types of bees and will attack if they perceive a threat.
Africanized bees can be identified by their yellow-brown coloration and slightly smaller size than other honeybees.
If you see these bees nearby, it is best to leave them alone or contact a professional beekeeper for assistance.
Hoverflies do not actually belong to the same family as honeybees—they are flies! However, they display similar behaviors, such as hovering near flowers while feeding on nectar and pollen.
These insects also have striped bodies which mimic those of bees, so it is easy to mistake them for honeybees at first glance.
Hoverflies do not sting but rather use their wings to produce a buzzing sound when threatened.
They can startle predators away, making them beneficial both as pollinators and pest controllers!
20. Nomad Bees
Nomad bees are social insects that live together in large colonies, usually located underground or inside hollow trees or logs.
They feed primarily on nectar from flowers but may also eat pollen or search for other food sources like sap or sugar water if necessary.
Nomad bee nests can contain thousands of individual workers who all work together to maintain the hive, making them one of the most organized insect species around!
Unsurprisingly, nomad bees possess stingers which should be avoided if possible, as their venom can cause pain if stung multiple times in quick succession.
21. Long-Horned Bees
These bees get their name from their noticeably long antennae. They are usually black or yellow in color, and they can range in size from small to large.
When they sting, they leave a slight burning sensation that fades away quickly. Long-horned bees are beneficial pollinators, and they help flowers grow!
You can usually find them hovering around flowers or near trees where they build their hive.
22. Resin Bees
Resin bees look very similar to long-horned bees, but they have shorter antennae than long-horned bees.
They are usually black or brown in color and range in size from small to large.
These bees do not sting because they lack the stinger for defense purposes. However, resin bees can become aggressive if provoked, so it’s best to just leave them alone!
They are also beneficial pollinators that help flowers grow, and fruit trees produce fruit in larger quantities.
23. Sharp-Tail Bees
Sharp-tail bees get their name from the pointy end of their abdomen, which looks like a tail with a sharp point at the end.
They are usually black or yellow in color and range in size from small to large.
Sharp-tail bees do not sting because they lack the stinger for defense purposes, but they can become hostile if disturbed.
They are excellent pollinators and help keep our environment healthy by pollinating plants and flowers.
24. Scissor Bees
Scissor bees have very pointed abdomens that look like scissors when viewed up close! They are usually black or yellow in color and range in size from small to large.
Like sharp-tail bees, scissor bees do not sting because they lack the stinger for defense purposes but can become aggressive.
Scissor bees are great pollinators as well, helping plants, flowers, and fruit trees produce more fruits by cross-pollination!
25. Mourning Bees
The mourning bee is one type of bee that stands out among other types due to its unique appearance.
It has a black head with white stripes on its body instead of being entirely black like most other bee species!
It also ranges in size between small and large sizes depending on its age, species, region, and so on.
26. Blunthorn Bees
Blunthorn bee is another type of bee that stands out among other types due to its unique appearance.
It has an orange head with yellow stripes on its body instead of being entirely black like most other bee species!
How to Tell the Difference Between Bees and Wasps
Are you ever unsure if the insect you see is a bee or a wasp?
In some cases, it can be difficult to tell the difference between bees and wasps.
However, there are several key features that can help you accurately identify these two common insects in the garden.
Let’s take a look at how to distinguish bees from wasps.
Bees are stout with fuzzy bodies covered in tiny hairs. They have thick waists, and their wings are usually stacked on top of each other when at rest.
Wasps are longer and slimmer than bees and generally have pointed abdomens. They also have narrow waists, and their wings are usually spread out when resting.
Bees typically live in large colonies, while wasps tend to live in smaller groups or alone. \
Bees often build hives, whereas wasps make nests by chewing wood fibers into pulp.
Bee nests are generally found in cavities such as hollow trees or underground tunnels, while wasp nests hang from ceilings or walls of buildings or trees.
Both bees and wasps feed on nectar, but they also differ in what they eat when they need protein-rich food sources.
Bees primarily consume pollen, while wasps feed on insects like flies, caterpillars, and spiders.
Despite their sweet tooths for nectar, both types of insects may attack humans if provoked, so it’s best to avoid getting too close!
Knowing how to identify bees and wasps can help you remain safe when outdoors.
With their different appearances, habits, and dietary habits, it’s easy to differentiate between these two species of insects once you know what details to look for.
Types of Bees: Final Thoughts
By understanding what types of bees live near our homes and gardens, we can better protect ourselves from potential stings while also learning how each species contributes positively to our local ecosystem!
All bee species play an important role that shouldn’t be overlooked—even if they sometimes get too close for comfort!