Order and Family:
Apidae, Apid Bees
3/8-3/4″ 9-18 mm); spring queen larger than workers. Robust, densely hairy. Largely yellow head and thorax; abdomen yellow and rusty-black banded. Wings smoky.
May to September.
In early spring, queen enters opening in soil to build honeypots and brood cells. Small workers develop first, visit flowers for nectar, and construct new brood cells. With warmer weather larger adults develop. Only mated females overwinter.
Meadows, woodland clearings.
Western North America; far north in the East.
Honey bees and bumblebees are social – they live in colonies consisting of a fertile queen, sterile female workers, and males, or drones. They are the only bees to produce and store honey. Bees are important in the pollination of many plants, including commercial crops. The families of bees are distinguished by structural details that are often difficult to see, including the tongue structure and length, wing venation, and placement of the pollen-collecting apparatus.
WARNING: This bee stings but is not aggressive.