How many types of bees are there in the world (Classification)

The insect, called the honey bee, originated in the warm, humid tropics, where wild varieties can still be found. Previously, melliferous bee species were found only in old Europe, today they can be seen everywhere. Let’s discuss how many types of bees are there in the world, common types of bees pictures, and their characteristics.

How many types of bees are there in the world

Table of Contents

Characteristics Honey Bees

The peculiarities of different populations are that they build their nests on tree branches. The combs contain small cells where honey and pollen are stored to feed future offspring. In warm climates, honeybees live outdoors, collecting nectar throughout the year.

Gradually mastering new territories, the populations spread further and further, capturing the temperate climate zone. Adapting to the cool temperature, they began to build nests in trees that protect them from the low temperature.

When choosing the right breed, the beekeeper needs to know which population is more productive, least prone to disease, to study the rules for keeping cultivated species. Caring for melliferous species requires the beekeeper not only knowledge but patience and special skills.

Scientific Classification of bees

Bees have a long proboscis that they use to suck pollen from plants. They also have antennae each of which consists of 13 segments in males and 12 segments in females. All bees have two pairs of wings, the back pair smaller than the front; only a few species in the same sex or caste have very short wings, making it difficult or impossible for the bee to fly.

Many species of bees are poorly understood. The size of the bees ranges from 2.1 mm in the pygmy bee ( Trigona minima ) to 39 mm in the Megachile pluto species from Indonesia.

The name “bees” (lat. Anthophila ) characterizes a whole group (section) of organisms that are part of the superfamily Apoidea of the order Hymenoptera (lat. Hymenoptera ).

This section includes seven families, one of which is the family of real bees (lat. Apidae ). It is to this family that honey bees (lat. Apis mellifera L. ) belong.

Scientific classification of bees: 
A type:arthropods
Family:real bees
View:Honey bee

Having spread almost all over the globe, representatives of honey bees began to play an important role in the scientific and practical activities of man. The study of them attracts the minds of physiologists, entomologists, ethologists, as well as specialists in the agro-industrial complex. They are also interesting for people who use bee products in everyday life.

Most Commom types of Bees (Breeds)

Breeds differ in color, size, weight, proboscis length, character, and disease resistance. Honey-bearing rocks from different climatic zones behave differently. It is better for a beekeeper to know which of the melliferous species are suitable for a particular region, to carefully study the description of each population and the features of caring for it.

There are such melliferous breeds:

  • Ukrainian carnika or steppe.
  • Central Russian forest.
  • Caucasian gray or yellow mountain.
  • Carpathian.
  • Italian.
  • Buckfast.
  • Priokskaya.
  • Far East.

The full life cycle of families of different most common types of bees is almost the same. But the quality and quantity of honey in the hives can be different.

Italian Honey Bee

The breed is common in Europe, USA, and Australia. Insects have a golden, sometimes gray color. Working individuals are large, weighing up to 115 mg, the uterus grows up to 200 mg. Proboscis length up to 7 mm. The Italian breed is distinguished by high egg production, peacefulness.

In spring, the Italian swarm wakes up sluggishly, the development period can last until July. In summer the breed is very active. Workers collect a large bribe, stacking it on the upper case. Printed with a gray-white wet signet. In rainy weather, insects do not work. Italians are distinguished by great accuracy, but are prone to stealing from neighboring hives. The beekeeper needs to take this into account when placing hives on the site.

Italian Bee

The negative characteristics of the Italian population are the following factors:

  • Poor tolerance to cold winters.
  • Consumption of a large amount of feed.
  • Poor tolerance to honeydew honey.
  • They are not immune to nosematosis.

The positive qualities include resistance to acarrapidosis, high activity of workers during the honey collection.

Ukrainian steppe Bee

The Ukrainian steppe types of bees lives in the southern steppe zones of Ukraine.

Ukrainian steppe Bee

Differs in the following characteristics:

  • Color light grey.
  • Proboscis length 6.5 mm.
  • The wax mirror is convex.
  • The weight of a worker bee is about 105 mg.
  • The weight of the uterus is up to 200 mg.
  • Egg production up to 2350 eggs per day.

The breed actively collects nectar from buckwheat, white acacia, linden, sunflower, autumn flowers, does not like the cold period. It is characterized by moderate aggressiveness, activity during summer or autumn honey flow. Workers print honeycombs in the hives with a white dry signet. In rainy bad weather, workers do not fly. Collect honey at a long distance – up to 5 km from the hives.

Buckfast Bee

This types of bees population tolerate winter well, develops rapidly in spring.

Buckfast Bee

Buckfast breed is different:

  • Good vitality.
  • Long life.
  • Low resilience.
  • Peacefulness.
  • Strong families.
  • High performance.

Has good disease resistance. Distributed throughout Europe, in Russia the Buckfast population has almost completely disappeared.

Caucasian Bee

It is bred in the Caucasian area with a mild, humid climate.

Caucasian Bee

Characteristic for this species of bees are:

  • Color silver grey.
  • The mass of a working individual is up to 90 mg.
  • The weight of the uterus is up to 180 mg.
  • Laying up to 1500 eggs per day.
  • Trunk length up to 7 mm.

A long narrow proboscis allows you to collect nectar from clover.

Carpathians Bee

These types of bees population are common in the Ukrainian region of the same name.

Carpathians Bee

Breed differences are:

  • Gray color with a silver belly.
  • Drones are gray or brown.
  • The uterus is dark, almost black in color.
  • Uterus weighing up to 230 mg.
  • The size of the proboscis is up to 7 mm.
  • The weight of a worker bee is up to 110 mg.

The Carpathian population is characterized by calmness, peacefulness, lack of aggression.

Central Russian Bee

Very honey-bearing breed, tolerates low temperatures, long wintering.

The population is different

  • Large size.
  • Furry.
  • Dark gray color without yellowness.
  • Wide paws.
  • Short proboscis up to 6.3 mm.
  • Weight up to 110 mg.
  • The weight of the uterus is up to 200 mg.
  • Laying up to 2 thousand eggs per day.

The breed is active during the honey harvest, has good resistance to diseases, and produces a large amount of honey.

Wild Bee species

Wild honey bees are picky about where they live. Colonies live in a warm climate, are located in hollows, rock crevices, dry trees, do not recognize beehives. But this is the most honey-bearing breed.

Honeycombs are fixed vertically, the cells have the shape of a hexagon. Families carefully prepare for wintering, actively collecting pollen, caring for the queen and increasing honey reserves. Be sure to expel drones before wintering, which have already fertilized the uterus, having fulfilled their purpose. The dwelling is carefully insulated with propolis.

Wild Bee species

People have been trying to tame wild breeds of honey bees for a long time since wild honey is much more useful than domestic honey, and the population is resistant to infections or diseases. But it is very rare to cultivate savages.

When caring for an apiary, you need to know which breed of bees will be the most productive and unpretentious.

life cycle of Bees

The life cycle of a bee and its behavior are dictated by instincts unknown to man by the laws of nature.

In the spring, when the cold has already disappeared, the family in each hive begins to grow rapidly, feeding and developing offspring. The collection of nectar begins with dandelions and flowering trees. During this period, the honey bee actively begins to prepare for swarming.

In spring, families have significant fodder reserves of honey, but an experienced beekeeper tries not to interfere in the internal processes of the colony. When a new swarm detaches and attaches nearby, the beekeeper can catch it, then place it in another hive. Both families will be actively collecting pollen, producing winter honey reserves.

Summer is harvest time. Medosbor begins from mid-June, continuing until the end of flowering plants. During the dry year, when the grasses wither and the plants don’t produce color, families can be starved. In dry summers, it is necessary to provide bees with sugar supplements or place your apiary closer to fields with flowering clover, alfalfa, buckwheat or sunflowers.

In autumn, a honey bee of any breed begins to stock up in its hives for the winter, to warm up, preparing for the cold season. It is necessary to constantly monitor the preparation process, carefully reviewing the quality of the prepared stocks, removing honeydew honey, feeding the wards with syrup, adding the necessary vitamins and useful components to the water.

Bees Structure and development

In families, three types of individuals are distinguished, which do their part of the work in building and ensuring the normal functioning of the nest. These are queens, drones, and workers.

One family can only have one queen. A new ancestor is grown if the old one has become infirm and can no longer produce offspring. When a new female appears, the swarm simply separates, flying away to nest in another place.

A sign of an imminent replacement of a female for a beekeeper can be the location of the mother liquor at 2/3 of the height of the combs. A sign of the close swarming of the family is the location of the queen cells on the lower frames. The average life expectancy of the uterus is 2-3 years. Considering how long a bee lives, the queen bee is very productive.

Nurses take care of the larvae. They clean the hive, feed the larvae, which require food every minute. Special larvae are deposited in separate cells, which are fed especially carefully. New females grow out of them, giving the genus a continuation.

There are workers in all populations, they do all the hard work. They build honeycombs, prepare food, collect pollen and water, and bring prey. Their important function is to protect the nest or restore order. First, young individuals are engaged in feeding larvae or cleaning cells. From the 10th day of life, working individuals produce honey, take it from collectors, and distribute it into cells. From the 20th day, the young bee will already perform the functions of protection. Only from the 22nd day of life, working individuals are allowed to collect nectar. The period of active life of any population of honey plants is 6-7 weeks, then the individual completely wears out and dies.

Among the pathologies that occur in domestic populations, beekeeping distinguishes arrhenotoky, chemical or honeydew intoxication.

Arrhenotoky or arrhenotokous parthenogenesis is virgin reproduction. Eggs only grow into males or drones if they are not fertilized in time. Scientists studying the characteristics of beekeeping cannot understand the causes of this anomaly, therefore they cannot give recommendations to prevent this phenomenon.

The beekeeper should not worry. Tiny bees will independently carry out the regulation of the number of drones in their family. Workers will simply kick out the extra drones and they will die from lack of food.

To increase immunity to various infections and diseases, a beekeeper can use a solution of blue iodine: for 1 liter of water – st. l.

Bee Repoduction

The uterus is responsible for reproduction. In one season, she lays several tens of thousands of eggs, filling the nest with young able-bodied working individuals. Once a year, the queen bee leaves her hive to mate with the drone, then returns to the colony and continues to lay more larvae. The average life expectancy of a female is influenced by the level and duration of her egg production.

Drones spend their whole lives trying to find a queen bee for fertilization. They look larger and thicker than ordinary working individuals but do not have a sting. Drones are used to fertilize queens. After mating, they always die.

In beekeeping, different seasons are distinguished, which are associated with the seasons. During each season, different colony care and proper feeding are required. Experienced beekeepers know the basic principles of caring for each population, and also have some secret ways to help the family cope with problems.

  • In the spring, the beekeeper begins to move the hives from the winter hut to the street. Families are transplanted into new clean hives. A new frame with flower honey is placed in the processed bee hive. A frame with brood is installed next to it. The beekeeper then transfers the queen and workers. If the hive is less than 8 kg. honey, the beekeeper needs to restock with unopened honey frames.
  • Summer starts from June. During the honey harvesting period, the beekeeper needs to closely monitor the normal swarming of colonies . Before the separation and departure of the swarm, inside there is noise, restlessness and active years around the hives. After the queen emerges, the swarm sits around her. It is necessary to calmly collect a new swarm with light movements in a separate container. First you need to quickly catch the queen, then the swarm will fly after it and sit next to it. You can fit insects into a new hive with a smoker. If there are several queens, the bees will still make a lot of noise and worry. Then you need to find and transplant all the extra queens, leaving one.
  • In autumn, the beekeeper needs to check the readiness of the wards for the winter. Be sure to check the quality and quantity of winter stocks in the hives. During the dry season, the hives can be filled with honeydew, which is poisonous. Such a product is distinguished by a dark color and flakes that appear when dissolved in water. The honeydew product must be replaced by a beekeeper with flower or sugar top dressing.
  • For the winter, insects are left with the required amount of natural food or given top dressing sugar syrup . One family is given 5 liters. syrup, ratio: 1.5 kg of sugar per liter of water. Each hive can be divided in half to better maintain the desired temperature during wintering. There is a table for the care of bees in different periods of time. It can be used as a guide to provide the right care for the wards and save the population from extinction or disease. You need to know which species are most suitable for a particular climate and the features of their breeding.

Bees Wintering

In late autumn, at the end of the honey collection period, all families actively begin to prepare for wintering. At this time, many plants, herbs and flowers bloom. These are asters, chicory, mustard, goldenrod, sunflower. The forbs are enough for the worker insects to replenish their winter supply of honey. But if there are few flowering plants, then sugar supplements should be given to the wards. From mid-October, the honey swarm begins to carefully prepare for a cold winter.

In winter, the insect population tries to survive the cold with minimal losses. Enough honey has been accumulated to feed the entire family, as well as to build new combs for growing new offspring of insects. In winter, there is no departure from the nest, individuals are in a half-asleep state. But inside, the activity of working individuals continues to breed and feed new brood with honey, which will join the ranks of insects that bring prey in the spring.

With the end of cold weather and the onset of heat, an active increase in the number of individuals begins. From the end of February or the beginning of March, beekeepers are advised to feed insects in the form of cakes so that the insects begin to eat well and multiply quickly. The life span of an individual is up to 6 weeks.


Insects do not have an evil, peaceful nature; a single sting of a honey bee is even beneficial for humans. Pure healthy bee honey, which these insects produce, gives people the opportunity to recover from colds and infectious diseases, increase immunity, and improve their health. Beekeeping products are not only healthy, but tasty and fragrant.

The beekeeper often has to deal with problems or diseases of his insects. Hive care requires special knowledge, skills and patience to help prevent a decrease in the quantity and quality of honey. Knowing the rules for keeping honey insects and the behavior of different individuals, you can get a good harvest.

A bee family can do without outside help, coping with wintering or problems with the help of mother nature. But with the assistance of a person, insects feel completely safe.

By studying the life or behavior of each bee population, the beekeeper will be able to choose the right method to help his swarm, contributing to the preservation and rapid development of families in his apiary.