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Types of Bees

If you ask a biologist about how many types of insects or specifically bees, are in the world, the answer probably surprises you. Bees are classified into 4000 different genera, which include around 25000 individual bees.

This number is continuously increasing as we have many more species of bee to be discovered.

Bee family and genus

All insects belong to the class Insecta, which further contains a superfamily called Apoidea. All bees are included in the superfamily Apoidea. Other than bees, Apoidea also contains sphecoid wasps, which are the possible ancestors of bees.

Bees are then further classified into different families, subfamilies, and genera. As we know, there are 4000 different genera of bees. And only in the US are there 4000 species of bees.

The number reduces to 250 when we talk about Britain. You may find bees showing different behaviors. Some bees are social, whereas some are solitary.

Most common bees around us.

You may have been surprised by the fact that there are thousands of different types of bees around the world. But you may find only a few around you.

There are 5 types of bees that you can easily look out for in your surroundings. Let us discuss some details about common bees that you encounter every now and then.

5 Types Of Bees To Look Out For

Here I have enlisted 5 types of bees belonging to a specific genus. Members of a specific genus are almost alike. The specific appearance of each specie slightly varies with the other, but you may not observe it.

Honey Bees

Family: Apidae

Genus - Apis

The most well-known of all the bees is the honey bee. You may find honey bees as the most social bees, and therefore they often live in colonies of almost 50,000 to 60,000 workers.

Beekeepers are interested in keeping Apis Mellifera for the purpose of harvesting honey. The most common habitat of the honey bee in the wild is large crevices of caves.

Whereas in the city, they may utilize household structures such as chimneys. One of the extensive uses of honey bees is pollination.

Honey bees are one of the most well-known types of bees. Here are two foraging on knapweed. Honey bees are resistant to cold temperatures, which enables them to forage in cold weather.

Bumble Bees

Family: Apidae

Genus - Bombus

Unlike the honey bee, bumble bees don't make large colonies. Their colony size varies from 50 to 400 workers. Most species are social, and the average number of workers in almost every colony ranges from 120 to 200.

Cuckoo bumble bees are one of the parasitic species of the genus Bombus. Bumble bees that show parasitic behavior usually live in the host's nest. Like honey bees, bumble bees are also efficient pollinators of a range of flowers.

They have furry body that somehow lowers the ability to pollinate efficiently, but some of them are able to buzz pollinate.

Leafcutter Bees

Family: Megachilidae

Genus - Megachile

One of the most beautiful moments is to catch this bee snipping neat segments of the leaf. They have behavior to cut neat segments of plant leaves or bush leaves. Moreover, you can also find leafcutter bees making their home inside your bee hotel.

They have jaws to cut leaf segments or petals, which they use to construct new egg cells. They cut the leaves, take them to their nest, and add new cells to the existing crevices.

You can easily find leafcutter bees in your gardens. However, if you take an interest in bees, you should also look for leafcutters in other environments.

Mason Bees

Family: Megachilidae

Genus - Osmia

The most recognized behavior of mason bees is to make nests in empty snail shells, old mortar, or anywhere in crevices. Mason bees belong to the genus Osmia.

The name of the genus means odor which refers to the specific fragrance they use as their signature mark at their nest entrance. Until now, there are 500 species of mason bees that are recognized.

Mining Bees

Family: Andrenidae

Genus - Andrena

Mining bees have been known to have the most number of species. Their bee family is the largest family of known bees. Mining bees belong to the genus Adrena which means buzzing insect in Greek. These bees show solitary behavior; however, their females make their nests close to each other.

The important aspect of mining bees is their role as a pollinator. They are kept for the pollination of apples, cranberries, and blueberries.

Other than these five most common bees, you can also find different types of bees in your surroundings. Here is a list of 20 bees that are easily found in common environments.

  1. Large Carpenter Bees (Family: Apidae)
  2. Plasterer Bees (Family: Colletidae)
  3. Wool Carder Bees (Family: Megachilidae)
  4. Flower Bees (Family: Apidae) Genus - Anthophora
  5. Nomad Bees (Family: Apidae) Genus - Nomada
  6. End-banded Furrow Bees  (Family: Halictidae)
  7. Long-horned Bees (Family: Apidae)
  8. Resin Bees (Family: Megachilidae)
  9. Yellow-faced Bees (Family: Colletidae)
  10. Pantaloon Bees (Family: Melittidae)
  11. Scissor Bees (Family: Megachilidae)
  12. Sharp-tail Bees (Family: Megachilidae)
  13. Small Carpenter Bees (Family: Apidae) Genus - Ceratina
  14. Dark Bees (Family: Megachilidae)
  15. Mourning Bees (Family: Apidae) Genus - Melecta
  16. Blunthorn Bees (Family: Melittidae)
  17. Blood Bees  (Family: Halictidae)
  18. Lesser Mason Bees (Family: Megachilidae)
  19. Oil-collecting Bees (Family: Melittidae)
  20. Base-banded Furrow Bees  (Family: Halictidae)

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