Explore Bees: Types of bees

14.08.2015. 08:11

Can you guess how many types of bees there are? We all know that bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and producing honey and beeswax, but how many of species and families of bees there are, find out in following article!

There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, in every habitat on the planet that contains insect-pollinated flowering plants. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently considered as a clade Anthophila.

Honey Bees


Image: http://www.wired.com/2011/06/honeybee-pessimism/

Honeybees live in large “families” and are found all over the world. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years. That is because they huddle together and eat honey to keep themselves alive during the winter months. Their wings flap 11,000 times per minute, which is why it sounds like they are “buzzing”. Honeybees can only sting once, because their stingers are barbed and tear off when they try to get away.

Honeybees produce honey from pollen and nectar of the plants they pollinate. They store the honey in honeycombs in their nests, which they use to feed their young in colder months. Honeybee nests vary in size. They typically build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys.
Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the skin. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.
Because honeybee colonies can be extremely large and removal can be very messy, only a pest management professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.

Bumble Bees


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Bumblebees are considered to be beneficial insects because they pollinate crops and plants. They are very social bees and live in large “families”.
Bumble bees are seasonal bees, after summer only queens overwinter to survive, starting a new colony in the spring. They can be known to defend their hive very aggressively and may sting multiple times and don’t lose their stinger. The bumblebee sting is one of the most painful stings. Swelling and irritation can last for days after you are actually stung.

Worker bees gather both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony. Bumblebees often nest in the ground, but can be found above ground around patio areas or decks. They will sometimes build their nests in attics or under roof beams. If disturbed, bumblebees will buzz in a loud volume, and they will aggressively defend their nests.

Bumblebees can be prevented through inspection of potential nesting areas and removal of potential nesting materials.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter-Bee jpg

Image: http://www.adkinsbeeremoval.com/bee-id-chart/carpenter1.html

Carpenter bees are solitary bees. They build nests just for themselves and only feed their own young. They get their name from their ability to drill through wood. The Identification of carpenter bees are sometimes mistaken as bumblebees however carpenter bees are shiny, with fewer colors, and with less hair. Their flight is faster than a bumblebee’s, and is also a bit more jerky flight, similar to a hummingbird.

Worker bees gather both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony. Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop. Female carpenter bees will chew a tunnel into a piece of wood to build a nest gallery. The bits of wood she chews and deposits outside the nest are called “frass”. The tunnel openings usually look about one or two inches deep, but they can be up to 10 feet long! These tunnels usually have several rooms where the bees hold their eggs and food.

Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can do cosmetic damage to the wood where they build their nests. Carpenter bees are beneficial because they pollinate plants that are ignored by Honeybees.

Killer Bees


Image: http://www.viralsoma.com/lock-up-your-family-the-unstoppable-killer-bees-continue-charging-north.html

Africanized “killer” bees look a lot like regular honeybees, but they have different wing measurements. Africanized bees lives in South America and the Western and Southern United States. They have been known to chase people for over a quarter of a mile once they get excited and aggressive.

Even though they are called “killer” bees, their venom is no more dangerous than regular honeybees. However, these bees tend to attack in larger numbers, which poses a greater danger to humans, especially those who are allergic to bee stings. Africanized bees can only sting once because their stingers are barbed and tear off when they try to get away. If you are chased by Africanized bees, run in a zigzag pattern and seek shelter in a house or car. Do not jump in the water! The bees will just wait around until you come up for air.

Worker bees gather both pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony. Africanized bees have small colonies, so they can build nests in unique places. They have been known to live in tires, crates, boxes and empty cars.

Because of the aggressive nature of these pests, a pest management professional or beekeeper should be called in to help.

Stingless Bees


Image: https://bugshots.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/stingless-bee/

Stingless bees defend themselves by biting; they nest in tree trunks, branches, and ground cavities. They are typically smaller than a honeybee and are natively a more tropical bee. Stingless bee species have for some time been considered as options for pollination of kind.  Because they do not sting, stingless honeybees as pollinators are claimed to be lesser a problem pest to home owners than honeybees. Though outperformed by the honeybee as pollinators, studies suggest that the stingless bees survival is not at threat.

http://www.pestworldforkids.org/pest-guide/bees/, http://www.adkinsbeeremoval.com/bee-id-chart.php, http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/types-of-bees.html
Image: http://www.gaiahealthblog.com/2013/11/19/bee-deaths/