Bee Identification

Bee Identification

The European honey bee is brown, black, yellow, and fuzzy.  Not an aggressive bee.  Produces a lot of honey which is why they are the most raised by beekeeper.


Africanized Bee – The Africanized honeybee was brought here many years ago from Africa and Brazil. Bee Identification is tough because it looks identical to the European honey bee. They are smaller than the European bee but you can’t tell by the naked eye.  You can tell immediately by their aggressive behavior.  European honey bees will come in packs of 20-30 while the African bee will come in the thousands.


Bumble bee – Large, black, yellow, and fuzzy.  They aren’t as common compared to 20-30 years ago. Typically makes a nest in the ground where it’s moist. Bumble bees do produce honey but not enough to be harvested.  The bumble bees sting is very painful, & can feel like fire.


Carpenter Bee – Carpenter bees look like a bumble bee.  Big black (some yellow and black) and live in wood. Very territorial. The females sting while the males don’t.  Aren’t beneficial in any way.  Also will continue to bite making holes.


Sting-less Bee – The sting-less bee isn’t common here in the states.  Common in central south America.  Live in logs and make honey.  Honey has a stronger taste than the honey here made by the European bee.



Bee identification is the European honey bee seen here with pollen pockets

Yellow Jackets | Hornets | Wasps

Yellow Jackets – Couple types of yellow jackets.  They are small and tiny with yellow and black stripes.  Difference with these little guys is they sting and bite.  Will also bite you holding on while they sting.  Sting you over and over.  Sting can be painful with pain sometimes lasting up to 4-5 days.  Yellow jackets mostly live in the ground.

Hornets – Like to make nests in trees, bushes, and ground.  In rare occasions you’ll see them built on homes.

Wasp – There are different types of wasps.  Their sting is painful.

Cicada Killer Bee – The Cicada killer bee is a large type of hornet that lives in the ground.  Typically seen in the months of June, July, & August.   They cause a mess in your yard by creating lots of holes.  Have big stingers but typically won’t sting you unless you grab it.

Wasp on a paper wasp nest

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Honey Bee Fun Facts

  • Honey bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey.
  • One bee has to fly about 90,000 miles to conclude making one pound of honey.
  • The average bee will make only 1.5 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • A honey bee visits 50-100 flowers each trip.
  • A honey bee can fly for up to 6 miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
  • A bee’s brain is oval in shape and about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has a remarkable capacity to learn.
  • Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing.
  • A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honey bees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
  • The queen bee can live up to 5 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs per day.
  • Larger than the worker bees, the male honey bees (also called drones), have no stinger and do not work. All they do is mate.


  • Honey has always been highly regarded as a medicine. It is thought to help with everything from sore throats and digestive disorders to skin problems and hay fever.
  • Honey has antiseptic properties and was historically used as a dressing for wounds and a first aid treatment for burns and cuts.
  • The natural fruit sugars in honey – fructose and glucose – are quickly digested by the body. This is why sportsmen and athletes use honey to give them a natural energy boost.
  • Honey lasts an incredibly long time. An explorer who found a 2000 year old jar of honey in an Egyptian tomb said it tasted delicious!
  • Bees buz their wings 11,400 times per minute.
  • When a bee finds a good source of nectar it flies back to the hive and shows its friends where the nectar source is by doing a dance. This is known as the ‘waggle dance.’
  • Honey is incredibly healthy and includes enzymes, vitamins, minerals. It’s the only food that contains “pinocembrin”, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.