Identify the Bees in Your Yard With This Simple Visual Guide

Garden Betty

Can you tell a bee from a wasp? Or a honeybee from a carpenter bee?

These vital pollinators can be tricky to tell apart at first glance, but this visual guide can help you identify the most common bees in your yard.

Make a positive identification with pictures and descriptions for the bees you’re likely to encounter in the garden.

Honeybee (genus Apis)

Honeybees have strangely hairy eyes that are large enough to be visible with a camera. The eyes of male honeybees meet at the top of their heads.

Bumblebee (genus Bombus)

There are three main tail colors seen in bumblebees: white, red, and uniform. White-tailed bees have tails ranging from off-white to yellow in color. Uniform-tailed bees have tails the same color as the rest of their abdomens (sort of ginger).

Mason bee (genus Osmia)

Mason bees do not have pollen baskets on their legs. Instead, they carry pollen in hairs on the underside of their abdomens.

Leafcutter bee (Megachile latreille)

These bees are black with white hairs covering the thorax and the bottom of the abdomen. Many species have large heads with massive jaws that aid in cutting off leaves.

Southeastern blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa)

Interestingly, these bees have evolved with native blueberries, and their bodies fit perfectly inside bell-shaped blueberry flowers. At half an inch long, they resemble small bumblebees with their hairy bodies.

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Garden Betty