Bees (Hymenoptera)

Bees are one of my favorite groups of insects, because they're the group that I study! There are over 20,000 species of bees found all over the world. Bees are incredibly important pollinators, collecting pollen to feed their larvae. Some bees are social, but some are solitary, with a single female doing all the work to take care of her offspring. Below are some of the bees I have worked on.

Common Eastern Bumblebee

Bombus impatiens

Bumblebees are social bees, with a single queen in the colony. The colonies are generally much smaller than honeybee colonies, with some consisting of as few as 50 individuals. Bumblebees make their colonies in cavities in the ground. They can sting multiple times, but aren't usually aggressive so don't sting humans.

Hoary Squash bee

Peponapis pruinosa

Sadly, it's hard to keep squash bees in the lab, so I don't actually have these in the BugZoo. Squash bees only collect pollen from squash and pumpkin flowers, which makes them great pollinators. They nest underground beneath the plants, with a single female digging her own nest and taking care of her offspring. Their nests are usually between 1-2 feet deep underground!

Also check out this awesome video by Maxwell Helmberger on the Squash Bee Life Cycle!