15 Types of Bees in Alaska

Types of Bees in Alaska
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If you’re from Alaska, you’re probably familiar with the most common types of bees in Alaska.

After all, you see them around daily, pollinating flowers and helping grow crops on nearby farms and ranches.

But did you know there are other types of bees in Alaska? Here’s a list of 15 types of bees in Alaska that you may not have known existed.

It ranged from native honeybees to bumblebees to native bee species that aren’t even used for commercial purposes!

1. Bumblebees

Bumblebees, also known as Bombus spp., are social bees. Bumblebees live in colonies with a queen and worker bumblebees that share the responsibility of taking care of the colony’s brood and gathering food.

They are distinguishable from other types of bees due to their hairless body and fuzzy, white abdomen. 

Bumblebees also have short, broad tongues used for sucking nectar. Bumblebees can be found throughout Alaska, but some types may only be found in one or two areas within the state.

Here is a list of 15 types of bees in Alaska you didn’t know existed

2. European (Western) Honey Bees

European (Western) Honey Bees are Alaska’s most common types of bees. They have a light brown/tan body and have a white, fuzzy pattern on the thorax.

These bees are not native to North America and were brought over by early settlers to help pollinate crops. 

They are vital to crop production as they can fly farther than other types of bees and produce honey stored in the hive for winter use.

Additionally, European (Western) Honey Bees need pollen from plants that require cross-pollination.

3. Large Carpenter Bees

Alaska is full of many different types of bees, and these are just a few that call the state home. The first on this list is the Large Carpenter Bee.

These enormous insects are found across Alaska and can be identified by their black and yellow stripes. 

They have a very short tongue that they use to suck up nectar from flowers, but they also eat wood like termites.

These types of bees in Alaska make nests inside wood blocks or holes in trees and can sometimes be found around cabins too!

Some people who live in the woods say that you should always avoid carving anything near your house for fear of attracting them. 

One way to get rid of them is to spray them with an insecticide, but you’ll need to keep doing so because it only kills them for about three weeks. A carpenter bee eats wood, similar to how a termite does!

4. Small Carpenter Bees

Small Carpenter Bees are one of the most common types of bees found in Alaska. They are not carpenter bees but rather close relatives to digger bees and sweat bees.

These little creatures can be found in woodlands, fields, gardens, and meadows throughout the state and have a wide variety of food sources. 

They’ll eat just about anything that can’t run away from them! Most small carpenter bees feed on nectar from flowers and fruit, but some eat other insects or decaying animals. That’s right – these pollinators may be tiny, but they’re mighty! 

And with so many types of bees in Alaska, it’s hard to know where you might find them next. From honeybees to small carpenter bees, more than 15 types of bees live up here in the great land of our 49th state.

5. Long-Horned Bees

Long-Horned Bees are one of the types of bees in Alaska. They have very long antennae that can be up to four times as long as their body length.

Unlike most other types of bees, these do not carry pollen or nectar but feed on tree sap and honeydew. 

Like carpenter bees, they chew into the bark and create galleries to nest inside. These galleries are lined with wax, which is used to store food.

In winter, Long-Horned Bees may take shelter in dry trees, where they hibernate until spring comes around.

6. Sweat Bees

Sweat Bees are a type of bee you may not have heard about. They get their name because they live in human sweat, specifically on the skin where people sweat the most – near the genital area.

Sweat bees are also called sudoriferous, which means they produce work or sudor. The sudor attracts them to this body part and helps them survive.

These types of bees in Alaska feed off of nectar, but it’s only their larvae that can take advantage of human sweat to grow and thrive.

Other types of bees include honeybees, bumblebees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, mining bees, and carpenter bees. 

Honeybees, for example, help pollinate crops and are responsible for 1/3 of our food supply. Bumblebees carry pollen from flower to flower, making up 75% of all bee species in North America.

7. Squash Bees

Squash bees are solitary bees that are often found near the ground. Their nests are typically underground, and they feed on nectar and pollen.

Squash bees don’t produce honey, but honeybees or other native bees can pollinate their nests. 

They have a wide range of colors, most with orange hair on their abdomen, including red, yellow, and green.

They also have large mandibles, which they use to scrape through the soil, looking for flower blooms. Squash bees are solitary bees that are often found near the ground. 

Their nests are typically underground, and they feed on nectar and pollen. They don’t produce honey, but honeybees or other native bees can pollinate their nests.

Types of bees in Alaska include squash bees, bumble bees, and Alaska blueberry bees.

8. Digger Bees

The digger bee is a solitary bee commonly found on the edges of wooded areas. Diggers are typically 6-8mm long and have black and yellow stripes. These bees are also known as pollen or leafcutter bees. 

They feed on pollen, nectar, and oil from plants. Their name comes from their digging behavior. Some types of digger bees nest underground, while others nest above ground in hollow tree trunks or cavities. 

They are active during the day and don’t need to be social with other types of bees to survive. They only produce one generation per year, so they don’t need to store large amounts of honey-like different types do.

9. Polyester Bees

Polyester bees are one of the most common types of bees in Alaska. They are often mistaken for bumblebees but have a smaller body size and shorter antennae.

These bees use their mandibles to gather resins and plant oils from plants like conifers to store as food during winter. 

The polyester comes from the material they secrete to line their nest cells with a sticky layer that helps keep them warm and protects them from predators.

Polyesters will also make honeycombs inside the nest cells that may be used by other insect species for nesting or storing food.

Polyester bees are essential pollinators for many native flowers, including fireweed and others found in alpine environments.

10. Masked Bees

Masked bees have black and yellow striped abdomens. They are the most significant type of bee you will find in Alaska. Masked bees are solitary and do not live in colonies like honeybees or bumblebees. 

They build their nests underground and can be found on the ground, feeding on nectar, pollen, resin, and tree sap.

Masked bees typically forage for food at night but provide it during the day if it is cloudy or overcast. 

The masked bee gets its name from its black and yellow striped abdomen that masks the other colors of its body parts, giving them an almost camouflaged look!

Unlike many different types of bees in Alaska, these are solitary and don’t form large groups like honeybees or bumblebees.

11. Cuckoo Bees

Cuckoo bees are very uncommon. They are often mistaken for bumblebees due to their yellow and black stripes. The main difference is that cuckoo bees don’t produce honey, whereas bumblebees do. 

Cuckoo bees nest in the ground like a bumblebee and build their nests on bushes and trees. Females will lay eggs inside other insects’ nests to trick them into taking care of the larvae for her. 

One way to identify a cuckoo bee is by looking at its tail end – it will have a long sting-like protrusion sticking out from its abdomen. These types of bees can be found throughout much of North America.

12. Mason Bees

Mason bees are a type of solitary bee that nest in pre-existing cavities such as hollow plant stems, holes created by other insects, or old beetle burrows.

These types of bees in Alaska do not produce honey but instead rely on pollen for food. Females lay eggs along the walls near the back of their nesting cavity. 

Larvae then hatch and feed on a store of pollen which the mother provisions before they hatch. The larvae pupate, overwinter, and emerge as adults the following spring or summer. 

Mason bees are known to be relatively gentle and rarely sting unless they feel threatened. Mason bees also pollinate various crops, including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers, blueberries, and cranberries. 14.

13. Leaf Cutter Bees

Leaf Cutter Bees are the most common types of bees in Alaska. They are minimal, but they can easily be identified by their unique saw, like a mouthpiece used to cut leaf pieces from plants.

Leaf Cutter Bees will spend time cutting leaves and carrying them back to the nest. 

Once they get there, they will chew the leaves into a paste mixed with pollen and honey before being used as food for larvae.

When these bees are not busy harvesting leaves or returning them to the nest, they can also be found on flowers collecting nectar. 

Insects such as bumblebees also pollinated flowers, while Leaf Cutter Bees were present. It has been determined that bumblebees do not compete against Leaf Cutter Bees because they pollinate different flowers.

14. Miner Bees

Miner bees are solitary, ground-nesting bees. They nest underground and build a nest out of dirt pellets.

Once the nest is made, they will lay one egg at a time into these pellets until there are more eggs than necessary to hatch.

At this point, the female will seal off the entrance with soil. This helps keep predators away from the larva and prevents excess moisture from getting inside the nest. 

The eggs then go through four stages: larva, pre-pupa, pupa, and the adult bee (larva). Miner bees are one of 15 types of bees in Alaska you didn’t know existed!

15. Carder Bees

Carder Bees, also called burrowing bees, are one of the most common types of bees in Alaska. They nest underground and have a large population that can be found both on private property and public lands. Carder Bees are not aggressive and often go unnoticed by humans.

However, they sting if they feel threatened, so it is essential to take precautions when handling them or their nests.

Carder Bees are often mistaken for bumblebees because they have a similar appearance and create nests close to ground level. 

They live in areas with loose soil or sandy soils that offer excellent digging opportunities. 

Carder Bee populations fluctuate depending on the season but typically start around early April and end around September due to cold temperatures during the winter months.


Bees play a huge role in the ecosystem. They pollinate plants and flowers, produce honey, and serve as food for other animals. Think again if you believe bees are dull creatures who buzz around the flowers. 

There are over 20,000 types of bees worldwide! Fifteen types of bees in Alaska you didn’t know existed can be found all around the state. 

Some have even been known to sting humans on rare occasions! Here is a list of types of bees in Alaska that may surprise you.

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