Bees come in many colours, shapes and sizes – more than you might initially think – but most of us will be more familiar with the honey bee and the bumblebee, which we notice buzzing around the garden flowers in spring and summer on pleasant days. There are approximately 20,000 different species of bee worldwide, (Britain has some 250 plus species of bee alone) and although some of them are solitary insects, others form complex social orders to ensure their perpetuation as a highly structured species. Other bees, on the other hand, have evolved as parasites which feed and utilise other bee colonies to their own ends, sometimes taking over the host colony completely. One third of the human food resources rely entirely on insects for their survival, and most of this involves the humble bee. Fruit, vegetable, and cereal crops would not be able to reproduce without the aid of pollination, and this is where bees come to play a very important and active role within the cycle of Mother Nature. Domesticated bees also play an important role in this, and as well as doing their bit for flowering plants, they also produce, honey, wax, and other products which we all make use of in our daily lives.
Tribe Bombini (Bumblebees)
Family Apidae (True Bees)
Family Megachilidae (Mason, Leafcutter, Carder, & Resin Bees)
Family Andrenidae (Mining Bees)
Family Halictidae (Sweat Bees)
Family Colletidae (Plasterer Bees)