Bee Types

An Introduction To Bee Types

The most recent and reputable scientific compilation of bee types and known species reports that 19,200 distinct strains of bees exist on earth. To give you an idea of just how staggering this number is, we can take every known mammal and bird species, add them together, and we would be nowhere close to that amount. This speaks to both the bees evolutionary and survival strengths, not to mention the steep role that they play in the delicate ecological balance of the earth.

Generally broken up into three groups, the bee, the wasp, and the hornet, the family of bees can range in size and personality as dark differs from light. The bee, generally thought to be the most amiable and least aggressive strain, tends to be herbivorous and is the most astute pollinator in the world. Of the thousands of bee types, honey and bumble bees are responsible for 80% of yearly fruit and tree pollination world over. Some of the notoriously aggressive species of bee, such as the Africanized “Killer Bee”, are scientific hybrids, mistakes if you will, created by a Brazilian team in an attempt to alter the European strain of honeybee into a super bee. The escapees are spotted in the warm, southwestern regions of North America, and scientists predict that the swarming bees could evolve enough within ten years to tolerate the climates of regions as far east as Montana.

The wasp is prone to a streamlined and aerodynamic build, with a thin thorax and pointy head and abdomen areas. They range in color and in protection tactics, but most tend to be defensive merely, and not aggressive unless provoked. Yellow jackets are a type of wasp, as is the infamous bald-faced hornet, the most feared and least tolerable of this group. Though bald-faced hornets tend to build their hives in peaceful, aerial settings away from noisy people and pets, they give no warning when defending their invisible plot lines. They target, they chase, and they sting multiple times at full flying speed. Ouch.

One of the most interesting bee types is the carpenter, or wood bee. Closely resembling the bumble bee, they are a sizeable strain with a shiny black abdomen. The female is capable of drilling perfectly round holes up to 1/2inch in diameter, through solid, treated or raw sawn lumber. She drills in at the point of least resistance and then branches out internally along the grain of the wood, depositing eggs and food stores in each individual cell. Unfortunately, the damage that they can cause to costly housing structures causes them to be regarded as pests, but to watch them at work is a miraculous experience. The male wood bee dive-bombs and shows off in a macho display, but take no heed. He doesn’t even have a stinger.