Types of Bees

The best-known bees are honey bees, responsible for producing the honey we know. However, there are about 4,000 types of bees distributed worldwide. The role of bees is very important, as they are responsible for the pollination of thousands of plant species. Thanks to this process, plants are able to reproduce and survive, hence the importance of bees.Types of Bees

Are you able to identify different species of bees? In Expert Animal, we have prepared this complete guide with its classification and the main characteristics. Keep reading!

How many types of bees are there?

Bees are insects belonging to the Apoidea superfamily. They feed on the flower nectar and most species have a Eurosocial organization: the hives are made up of a queen bee, hundreds of worker bees and some male drones.

The life cycle of bees

Bees go through four stages during their growth: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Fertilized eggs become worker females, while unfertilized eggs are male. In this way, in the hives, the sex of the individuals close to birth is “decided”. The sperm necessary for this is preserved by the queen, who is able to keep in her body the amount required to maintain the colony throughout her life.

But do you know how a bee becomes queen? We explain this in detail in this other Animal Expert article on How does a bee becomes queen?

Taxonomic classification of bees

The taxonomic classification of bees is divided as follows:

Superfamily: Apoidea

Families :

  • Andrenidae
  • Apidae
  • Colletidae
  • Halictidae
  • Megachilidae
  • Melittidae
  • Stenotritidae

Each of these families has, in turn, various subfamilies, tribes, genera, and species. Next, we will see the types of bees by families.

Types of bees of the family Andrenidae

The Andrenidae family contains four subfamilies :

  • Alocandreninae
  • Andreninae
  • Panurginae
  • Oxaeinae

Characteristics of Andrenidae bees

The main characteristics of this type of bees are:

  • They have lonely habits.
  • It is possible to find them all over the world, except Australia.
  • They have two subantenas circling the main antennas.
  • They usually build their panels after drilling holes in the ground.
  • They feed on the nectar of specific flowers.

Andrenidae bee species

Some of the most representative types of bees in this family are:

  • Mesoxaea tachytiformis
  • Alloxaea brevipalpis
  • Protoxaea australis
  • Notoxaea Ferruginea
  • Oxaea schwarzi

Types of bees of the family Apidae

The Apidae is made up of three subfamilies of bees:

  • Nomadinae
  • Xylocopinae
  • Apinae

Characteristics of Apidae bees

This family includes a variety of species with diverse characteristics. These different life forms generate varied dynamics in the honeycombs :

  • Some form Eurosociedades.
  • Others have lonely habits.
  • Some bees only parasitize the nests of other species.
  • In some colonies, more than two females live together that fulfill the same functions.
  • They nest in the ground or the trunk of the trees.
  • In cities, it is common to see that they build honeycombs on the walls or on electric poles.

Bee species of the family Apidae

Some species of this family are:

  • Thyreus albomaculatus
  • Brachynomada cearensis
  • Brachynomada chacoensis
  • Ceratina Acantha
  • Ceratin allodapoides

Types of bees of the family Colletidae

The Colletidae family of bees includes the subfamilies :

  • Diphaglossinae
  • Euryglossinae
  • Hylaeinae
  • Xeromelissinae

Characteristics of Colletidae bees

Some of the main characteristics of this type of bees are:

  • The bees of this group are lonely.
  • They build honeycombs on the ground or trees.
  • The species of this family inhabit the entire southern hemisphere, including Australia.
  • They cover the inside of the honeycombs with a secretion from the Dufour gland, located in the abdomen. This secretion becomes transparent and impermeable to contact with oxygen.

Colletidae bee species

Some bees that belong to this family are:

  • Colletes albohirtus
  • Colletes albomaculatu
  • Hylaeus adriaticus
  • Andean Cadegualina
  • Cadegualina sericata

Types of bees of the family Halictidae

Other types of bees are those belonging to the Halictidae family, which includes the following subfamilies :

  • Halictinae
  • Nomiinae
  • Nomioidinae
  • Rophitinae

Characteristics of Halictidae bees

These bees have diverse social organizations, as well as other curious features:

  • Some are lonely.
  • Others are parasocial, that is, colonies include single generation bees.
  • Others are euro social at a primitive level, that is, the difference in size between queen and worker is not noticeable, there is the division of labor.
  • They lick their perspiration during the summer, which is why they are called “sweat bees” .
  • They nest in the ground and trees.
  • The body has varied colors: yellow, black, blue and green.

Species of Halictidae bees

Among the types of bees that belong to this family are:

  • Ceylalictus celebensis
  • Ceylalictus cereus
  • Morawitzella Nana
  • Ceratalictus ischnotes
  • Ceratalictus psoraspis

Types of bees of the family Megachilidae

The Megachilidae family includes two subfamilies:

  • Fideliinae
  • Megachilinae

Characteristics of Megachilidae bees

Among the main characteristics of this type of bees, it highlights:

  • They are usually lonely.
  • Some species have the habit of two queens sharing the same honeycomb, although each one takes care of everything necessary to condition its cell.
  • Some species parasitize colonies.
  • They build their colonies with dried leaves and resins that they extract from plants.

Species of the Megachilidae bees

Some bees that are part of this family are:

  • Fidelia Hessei
  • Fidelia Kobrowi
  • Pararhophites orobinus
  • Pararhophites quadratus
  • Radoszkowskiana gusevi

Types of bees of the Melittidae family

The Melittidae family includes the subfamilies:

  • Dasypodainae
  • Meganomiinae
  • Melittinae

Characteristics of Melittidae bees

The main characteristics of this type of bees are:

  • They nest in the ground, where they open holes in the ground.
  • Most Melittidae bee species are found in Africa, Europe, and Asia, in addition to some areas of North America. On the contrary, there are no species in the southern part of America or in Australia.
  • They are oligolectic, that is, they only collect pollen from a certain number of plant species.

Melittidae bee species

Among the species that are part of this family it is possible to mention:

  • Meganomia Andersoni
  • Meganomia Binghami
  • Dasypoda albipila
  • Dasypoda argentata
  • Afrodasypoda plumipes

Types of bees of the family Stenotritidae

The Stenotritidae family is the smallest of all bee groups and includes the following genera:

  • Ctenocolletes
  • Stenotritus

Characteristics of Stenotritidae bees

The most striking characteristics of these bees are:

  • The bees of this family are found in Australia.
  • They are distinguished by presenting robust bodies covered with villi.
  • They nest on the ground.
  • They differ by a fast flight.
  • Like the bees of the Colletidae family, they cover the cells of the honeycombs with an impermeable secretion.

Stenotritidae bee species

Some of the types of bees that belong to this family are:

  • Ctenocolletes albomarginatus
  • Ctenocolletes centralis
  • Ctenocolletes fulvescens
  • Stenotritus elegans
  • Stenotritus elegantior

You May Also Interested: 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button