Honey bees and other bees.


Honeybees have long provided humans with honey and beeswax. Commercial uses have spawned a large beekeeping industry, though many species still occuring  in the wild.

Honey Bee

Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees.

No Apis species existed in the New World during human times before the introduction of Apis mellifera by Europeans. 

A colony generally contains one breeding female, or “queen”; a few thousand males, or “drones”; and an average of 60,000 sterile female “worker” bees.

Yellow jackets

Yellow jackets, in contrast to honey bees, are not covered with tan-brown dense hair on their bodies, do not carry pollen, and do not have the flattened hairy hind legs used to carry it.

Yellow jackets build nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside man-made structures, or in soil cavities.

 Most of these are black and yellow.


Baldfaced hornet

Hornet stings are more painful to humans than typical wasp or honey bee. It has a characteristic hanging paper nest. Females are known to aggressively defend their nest by repeatedly stinging invaders.

Baldfaced hornets are distinguished from other yellow jackets by their white and black coloring, they are notably larger than other species.

Carpenter bee

People who complain about bumblebees flying about under the eaves of their homes are probably being annoyed by carpenter bees.

They construct their nests in trees or in frame buildings. Most of the top of the abdomen of carpenter bees is without hairs and is shiny black in color.

The male bee is unable to sting. It is the male carpenter bee, which is most often noticed.  A common behavior of the males is to approach people and hover a short distance from them causing unnecessary panic. The female however, is capable of stinging but she must be extremely provoked before she will do so.


Africanized bee

Africanized bees (known colloquially as "killer bees") are hybrids between European stock and one of the African subspecies A. m. scutellata; they are often more aggressive and do not create as much of a surplus as European bees, but are more resistant to disease and are better foragers. Originated by accident in Brazil, they have spread to North America and constitute a pest in some regions. However, these strains do not overwinter well, so are not often found in the colder, parts of North America.


Bumblebees are social insects which form colonies with a single queen. Colonies are smaller than those of honey bees, consisting often of fewer than 50 individuals in a nest. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals.

Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair (long, branched setae), called pile, making them appear and feel fuzzy. They have warning coloration, often in bands, in combination of black, yellow, orange/red, and white.

Mud dauber

The name refers to the nests that are made by the female wasps, which consist of mud molded into place by the wasp's mandibles. Mud daubers are not aggressive and stings are very uncommon.

Like most other wasps, mud daubers are predators. The females not only build the nests, but also hunt to provision them. However, pipe-organ mud dauber males have reportedly brought spiders to the nest, and they aid in nest guarding.


Mason bee

Megachilid genera are most commonly known as mason bees and leafcutter bees, reflecting the materials from which they build their nest cells. They are efficient pollinators because they are extremely inefficient at gathering pollen; compared to all other bee families, megachilids require on average nearly 10 times as many trips to flowers to gather sufficient resources to provision a single brood cell.

The most significant native species is Osmia lignaria (the orchard mason bee or blue orchard bee), which is sold commercially for use in orchard crop pollination