Completely different varieties of bees. We have a tendency to’ve all eaten honey, and many folks supplement our diets by eating helpful bee byproducts like bee pollen. But, there are several different species of bees; that ones make honey, and what do alternative sorts of bees do?
There are about 25,000 species of bees identified worldwide. About 4,000 of those are in the United States. All of those are classified nder the superfamily Apoidea. These are divided into 9 families, four of which are very small in terms of numbers of species.
We are most familiar with one family of bees, Apidae, that includes honey bees and bumblebees. Honey Bees, after all, produce honey; these are social bees that live in colonies of aproximately 50,000 to 60,000 workers, 300 drones, and usually a single queen. Honey bee colonies are very advanced in terms of behavior and overall function; this behaviour evolved to improve the chances of survival of the colony, and not for the survival of the individual. There are 10 broad types of honey bee worldwide, and one hybrid variety, the Africanized bee, or “killer bee.” The European honey bee is the one usually kept by beekeepers, for the purpose of harvesting honey and bee products.
Bumblebees are from the family Apidae, but bumblebee colonies are much smaller than those of honey bees, usually hosting only a few hundred worker bees. Like Honey Bees, Bumblebees are excellent pollinators of a variety of flowers; their bodies are quite furry, trapping pollen easily as the bees move from flower to flower to eat. Bumblebees do after all make honey, similar in texture and taste to honey from honey bees but greenish-golden in colour rather than the pure golden color of regular honey. Bumblebees make relatively small quantities of honey and their colonies are therefore small and it is difficult to harvest. For this reason bumblebee honey is usually available to buy.
Other Varieties of Bees
There are of course many other varieties of bees and many of them behave very differently from the honey bee. There are many members of the Apidae family who are solitary rather than colonizing. Digger Bees usually build their nests in the ground, rearing their young in soil tunnels; their bodies are bushy, and generally up to three centimeters long. Digger bees usually nest in close proximity to each other, giving the appearance of a colony, however each female is acting independently, protecting her young and collecting pollen for them. These bees are nonaggressive and will not sting unless they’re trapped in clothing. Carpenter Bees, on the other hand, nest in old wood; like digger bees, they are solitary, but usually nest in close proximity to each other.
Leafcutter Bees and Mason Bees are members of the Megachilidae family; they are solitary, with leafcutters creating nests in hollow plant stems and ready-made holes in wood and mason bees nesting in old mortar and many crevices. With solitary bees, it’s the female that mates and rears her young on her own; like social bees, the males serve no purpose other than to mate with fertile females. Several of these solitary bees are increasingly being reared commercially for pollination functions, particularly as honey bee populations around the globe are dwindling for currently unexplained reasons. Other varieties of bees must now be considered.
Mining Bees belong to the Andrenidae family; this family contains thousands of species round the world. Also solitary, mining bees excavate tunnels and cells underground in which they rear their young; their tunnels are usually visible as tiny mounds in the ground, a bit like worm casts. A nest may carry with it a main tunnel with five or six branches each containing an egg cell. Mining bees prefer sandy soil. They do not cause any damage to a garden, and should be welcomed as effective pollinators.
Bees of the Halictidae family are usually referred to as “sweat bees” as a result of they’re attracted to perspiration; females can offer a minor sting if trapped. These bees nest in the bottom or in wood, and they are social, though their caste system differs from that of honey or bumblebees. The Colletidae family comprises plasterer bees, so called because they smooth the walls of their nest cells with secretions that dry into a lining resembling cellophane. These are solitary bees, found principally in Australia and South America.
Four other varieties of bees — Melittidae, Meganomiidae, Dasypodaidae, and Stenotritidae — are very small in variety of species; these rare bees are found in Africa or Australia.
Bees are abundant and more different in behaviour than one would think at first glance. You’re likely to encounter honey bees and bumblebees, but most other varieties of bees are effective pollinators, and as such are also a valuable link in our international ecosystem.
About the Author
Robert Mccormack has been writing articles online for nearly 2 years now. Not only does this author specialize in Bee-Pollen-Health, Completely different Varieties of Bees. You can also check out his latest website about: Bee-Pollen-Health