Bee Identification Tips:

Bees: The first step is to distinguish bees from wasps and flies. Bees, wasps and flies have many similarities. The following tips will help you to determine if your specimen belongs to the bee epifamily (Anthophila).

  • Four Wings – Two pairs, sometimes difficult to see; hind wings are often small; wings are often held along side the body, crossed over the body, or at a 45-degree angle
  • Hair – Most have hairy bodies for carrying pollen
  • Eyes – Large, well-separated on top of head
  • Antennae – Long, segmented, and often bent
  • Corbiculae – Many bees have flattened plates used as pollen baskets on hind legs
  • Scopae – Pollen-carrying hairs usually on the hind legs or the underside of the abdomen, often covered with pollen
  • Body Shape – Rounder bodies than wasps and flies. The following shapes are acceptable body shapes for bees:
  • Bombiform
  • Euceriform
  • Megachiliform
  • Apiform
  • Hylaeiform
  • Andreniform
  • Epeoliform

Wasps belong to the insect order Hymenoptera that also includes bees, ants, and sawflies. They are defined by having four wings, and the females have an ovipositor for
laying eggs. In some cases, the ovipositor in wasps has been modified into a stinger. Wasp species can be social, solitary, or parasitoid. Wasp characteristics include:

  • Narrower bodies than bees, and not distinctly hairy
  • Two pairs (four) of wings, often longer than bees
  • Many have a pinched abdomen known as a “wasp waist”
  • Often distinct black, yellow, or white color patterns on the exoskeleton
  • Do not carry pollen loads

Flies belong to the insect order Diptera. Flies are defined by having only one pair of wings. The second pair of wings evolved into halteres, which are a sensory organ to help the insect with movement in flight. Some flies mimic the appearance of bees and wasps to protect themselves from predators. The colors and patterns appear as a stinging insect, which sends predators a warning. This is known as Batesian mimicry. Fly characteristics include:

  • One pair (two) of wings
  • Short, thick antennae, usually with three segments
  • Large eyes near the front of their head
  • Usually not hairy (there are exceptions)
  • Flies can hover (most bees cannot)
  • Do not carry pollen loads

Resize the map
2037 Result(s)
  • Title A to Z
  • Title Z to A
  • Taxanomy (Highest first)
  • Taxanomy (Lowest first)
Refine Search
Nesting Practices
Floral Specialization
Native to
Body Shape

Genal Bumble BeeName: Bombus genalisRank: speciesParent ID: 538910Bombus genalis is a species of bumblebee.

ID: 1079622…

megachiline leafcutter bees Name: Megachilinae Rank: subfamily Parent ID: 52777 Megachilinae is a subfamily of bees, the largest subfamily in the family Megachilidae, the mason bees.

Name: Osmiini Rank: tribe Parent ID: 314114 Osmiini is a tribe of leafcutter, mason, and resin bees in the family Megachilidae. There are about 19 genera and at least 1,000 described species in Osmiini. ID: 465612 Exploring the Osmiini Tribe: Fascinating Bees of the Megachilidae Family

African Resin Bees Name: Afroheriades Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574238 Afroheriades: Unveiling the Fascinating World of African Resin Bees In the vast and diverse realm of insect life, one group stands out for its intriguing behavior and ecologica…

Ridge Face Resin Bees Name: Noteriades Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574206 Noteriades: Unveiling the Enigmatic Ridge Face Resin Bees In the intricate tapestry of nature, certain species capture our attention with their unique characteristics and elusive nature. Among them, the Ridge Face Resin Bees, scientifically known as Noteriades, stand out as fascinating creatures within the Megachilidae family. With their distinctive ridge-like faces and intriguing behaviors, these bees offer…

Shelf Resin Bees Name: Pseudoheriades Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574199 Pseudoheriades: Unveiling the Marvels of Shelf Resin Bees Within the intricate world of bees, a remarkable group known as Shelf Resin Bees, or Pseudoheriades, captivates with t…

Super-tongued Resin Bees Name: Stenoheriades Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574196 Stenoheriades: Unveiling the Remarkable Super-Tongued Resin Bees In the vast and diverse world of bees, one group stands out for its exceptional tongue length and unique…

Snail Shell Resin Bees Name: Wainia Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574192 Wainia: Exploring the Intriguing Snail Shell Resin Bees In the vast world of bees, a unique and captivating group known as Snail Shell Resin Bees, scientifically referred to as W…

Collared Resin Bees Name: Ochreriades Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574205 Ochreriades: Unveiling the Fascinating Collared Resin Bees In the vast world of bees, the Collared Resin Bees, scientifically known as Ochreriades, stand out as captivating and…

Hook Hair Resin Bees Name: Haetosmia Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574218 Haetosmia: Exploring the Fascinating Hook Hair Resin Bees In the realm of bees, the Hook Hair Resin Bees, scientifically known as Haetosmia, captivate with their unique characte…

Pebblenest Bees Name: Othinosmia Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 ID: 574204 Pebblenest Bees (Othinosmia): The Builders of Extraordinary Stone Nests In the enchanting world of bees, Pebblenest Bees, scientifically known as Othinosmia, stand out with their re…

Scissor Bees Name: Chelostoma Rank: genus Parent ID: 465612 Chelostoma is a genus of bees in the Osmiini tribe of the family Megachilidae. The genus is divided into 5 subgenera with 56 described species.