Some insects you would not think are bees at first glance, actually are bees! Here are some helpful tips for telling some of our native bees apart and some fun facts about each group of bees.

Bumble bee: social bees that create colonies and make nest with structures called “honey pots.” However, they don’t make enough honey for people to consume, unlike honey bees. Photo: Tiffani Harrison📷

Carpenter bee: chew through wood to make tunnels where they build their nest. Photo: Ellen Richard

Nomada bee: these cuckoos lay their eggs in other bee’s nests so they do not have to collect pollen to feed their young. Photo: Ellen Richard

Mining bee: digs her own tunnels underground with branching cells which make up her solo nest. Photo: Ellen Richard

Plasterer bee: lines her brood cells with a waterproof membrane that protects it from fungal infections. Photo: Sarah Richard

Green sweat bee: sweat bees sometimes drink human’s sweat for salt – hence their name. Don’t worry if they land on you, they don’t often sting and even if they did, they’re so small that it won’t hurt too much. Photo: Ellen Richard

Additional fun fact:

One of the primary differences between bees and wasps is that a bee’s diet is dependent on nectar and pollen from flowers, whereas wasps get their protein from eating other insects instead of pollen.

Ellen Richard

Bumble Bee Conservation Technician

Ellen has completed a Master’s degree in environmental sciences at the University of Guelph. Her research focused on assessing non-bee pollinators forage patterns in an agricultural environment. She has a huge passion for the diversity of form and function in the insect world.

Ellen loves sharing this smaller, often overlooked world with others and spreading the excitement.


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