The word for the study of bees is “melittology,” and whether they realize it or not, every beekeeper is a practitioner. But a deep dive into this science reveals a seemingly endless amount of information. It takes painstaking work and careful analysis to study and categorize the more than 20,000 types of bees. These tips for how to identify different bee types will help you understand the features of the most prominent bees.
Bumble Bee (Bombus)
People curious about bee science can spot a bumble bee based on its round fuzzy bodies, yellow and black stripes, and white tail. Some bumble bees, however, have yellow or red tails. There are actually over 250 species of bumble bees, many of which have similar features. They live in small colonies or nests and, similar to honey bees, they have pollen sacs on their legs.
Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
One of the best bee breeds for people starting a bee farm is the western honey bee. Beekeepers can recognize this bee type by their slender bodies and tan-yellow stripes. They are simple to identify, as they have a smooth abdomen and a honey-colored appearance. Their features include a pair of antennae, three pairs of back legs, and two pairs of wings. Beekeepers like these creatures because they are not aggressive and can make a great deal of honey.
Leafcutter Bees (Megachile)
Leafcutter bees are the next example on this list of tips for how to identify different bee types. They are slender and have pronounced pale yellow and black stripes. Pollen-carrying hairs are on the bottom of their abdomen. They are medium-sized and do not produce honey. Unlike honey bees, they are solitary insects that live in burrows, crevices, hollow twigs, and nests.
Long-Horn Bees (Eucerini)
Long-horn bees are most recognizable by their large antennae, the basis of their “long-horn” title. They have hairy legs and bodies with white and black bands. They are typically found eating pollen on sunflowers. They do not produce honey and live independently in small tunnels.