12 Types of Bees and Pictures to Identify Them

Suppose you have just related bees with their stinging nature, trying to get rid of them as soon as you sight one. In that case, it is also time to appreciate the bee’s contribution to our ecosystem. The different types of bees pollinate fruit trees, flowers, and the crops that produce food. Some bees make honey. In short, bees play a vital role in human survival, playing a crucial role for the farmer and our environment.

Not all bees are the same, and there is always a threat of getting stung. Some of them can be dangerous too. It is thus important that you educate yourself about the different kinds of bees to identify them and then take the right action. You want to get rid of the bees that could be dangerous to you; however, you do not want to be harming the bee species that are essential for the environment.

Here we list down some of the common types of bees that you can see in your farm or garden. 

1. Honey bees

Honey bees

Honey bees grow to a half-inch size. The queen bee is around three fourth inches long. These are black or yellowish-orange in color. They are the social variety of bees, and their sting is usually not very aggressive. Honey bees are the largest pollinators in the environment and can be seen near flowering plants. They usually build their nests in rock crevices and tree cavities and seek shingled roofs and chimneys. Their stings are not aggressive, but their venom sac, stinger, and internal organs detach from their body when they sting. The glands associated with its venom sac pump venom continuously, and thus the stinger should immediately be removed. A honey bee sting is dangerous only to those who are allergic to the bee stings. If the honey bees make their nest on building roofs, then this could cause structural damage.

2. Bumblebee


Bumblebees are usually three-fourths to one inch long. These have black and yellow. They are social bees, generally not aggressive. The bumblebees are a common sight in the summer months when they move a lot to seek nectar and pollen from the flowering plants. These are also responsible for pollinating various crops like tomatoes, avocadoes, blueberries, and cherries. The bees make their nest in compost piles, abandonment rat burrows, and also in the long grass. The bees sting humans only when they feel threatened. The queen bumblebee has stingers, and they can use it repeatedly. The males do not possess any stinger. They are a cause of concern only if they sting someone who is allergic to a bee sting.

3. Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees

There are more than 500 species of carpenter bees found around the world. These grow to three-fourths to one inch in length. The females are black, and the males are bright yellow. The bees are the solitary type and thus do not live in colonies. These are pollinators, and they forage for pollen to feed their little ones. Some build their nests on trees, while others may choose to build their homes in man-made structures. The female carpenters sting if they are stepped on or are mishandled. The males do not possess stingers. This bee variety is docile and not aggressive.

4. Africanized honey bees

Africanized honey bees

Also referred to as the killer bees, the Africanised honey bees are highly aggressive, attacking anything that may threaten their nest. These grow to half an inch in length. The queen bee grows bigger to three fourth inches. These are yellow and black and are the social bee types. They build their waxy comb hives. These bees pollinate plants, but since these are territorial and highly aggressive, they alert their colony to attack as soon as someone meddles with their nest. Their venom is the same as that of an average honey bee. However, the Africanised honey bee sting many times till the target is no more a threat, and this causes more venom to enter the body.

5. Western honeybees

Western honeybees

The bee can easily be identified from the other types of bees because of their golden brown color with black stripes on the abdomen. These are the female workers. If they visit flowers, you will notice some yellow pollen on the legs. When the bee collects pollen, it moves it across its body to the legs, placing the pollen in small baskets. These are pollinators and pollinate several plants. They are capable of stinging but rarely do so unless you get close to their colony or handle them. You may want to leave them alone if you notice them in your garden.

6. Mason bees

Mason bees

These are fast-flying and small and can be easily spotted because of their black, dull green, or blue metallic color. They carry the pollen on their hair underside of the abdomen. You can usually spot these in the spring season. The mason bees are pollinators, and they visit several flowers. The male mason is incapable of stinging. The female can sting, but they are docile and only sting when threatened. The mason bees are not aggressive, and they do not cause a lot of damage to gardens and lawns. It is thus not necessary to get rid of them.

7. Leafcutter bees

Leafcutter bees

The Leafcutter bees have black and white hairs that cover their thorax and abdomen bottom. Some leafcutter bees have massive jaws and large heads that help cut the leave pieces, which they use to seal their nests. The bees fly super-fast and carry pollen on the abdomen. These bees pollinate the wildflowers, vegetables, and fruits. Commercial growers use the bees to pollinate carrots, blueberries, and onions. These are solitary bees, and even those capable of stinging rarely do so only to protect their nests. The leafcutter bees are useful and should not be removed.

8. Blueberry bees

Blueberry bees

The blueberry bees look like a miniature version of a carpenter or a bumblebee. Their bodies perfectly fit with the bell shape or the blubbery flowers ad this is how it got its name. These bees pollinate blueberries as well as many other flowering plants. They are solitary bees, and they sting only when someone crushes them. There are hardly any risks of these bees, and there is no reason to get rid of them.

9. Squash bees

Squash bees

The squash bees look something like blueberry bees, and they are used to pollinate pumpkins, squash, and many kinds of gourds. These bees can be spot flying before dawn. They may be found nesting on a squash flower. You can identify the squash bees with their head and thorax with an orange, tan or black color. Its thorax is black in color and hairy. There are banded stripes on the abdomen that could be white, black, or tan. These are pollinators, and they are not the aggressive kinds, which means that they usually do not sting humans. The bees pose no risk, so you may not want to get rid of them from your garden.

10. Sweat bees

Sweat bees

The sweat bees are small and only a quarter size of the honey bees. They stay in large groups. They get this name because these bees are attracted to human sweat. Sweat bees are active between most of October to November, and they are great pollinators. Because of the small size of the bees, they are attracted to small flowers. The bees could be metallic blue, black, or green with some blue and copper overtones. Some may also have stripes on their abdomen. The bees are small in size and fly fast, which makes it difficult to see them. The sweat bees are pollinators. The female bee could sting, but they are not aggressive. The bees are beneficial and cause no harm. 

11. Miner bees

Miner bees

Also known as the chimney bees, miner bees are much smaller than honey bees. These can be identified with their furry and stout body. The bees are non-aggressive and do not bite or sting. The bees play an important part in pollination. Because of their small size, these usually pollinate flowers.


Bees are related to honey, their buzzing sound, and their sting. There are many bees in our environment, and each plays a different role. The article talks about the various bees and how to identify them. Bees are the biggest pollinators in the world and this is their major task. These are responsible for pollination and give the world one-third of the food that is consumed. Bees thus play a crucial role in our economy, and without bees, the human population would be in trouble. All bees are not the same. It is important to distinguish between them, to know which among them are dangerous and should be got rid of and which ones are helpful and do not need to be evicted.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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