14 Types of Bees in Arkansas (With Pictures)

Types of Bees in Arkansas
Photo by Kai Wenzel on Unsplash

Arkansas, known for its picturesque landscapes and abundant flora, is home to many insect species.

Among these fascinating creatures, bees play a crucial role in pollination, ecosystem balance, and honey production.

In Arkansas, several types of bees buzz about, each with unique characteristics and contributions.

Arkansas has hundreds of beautiful and colorful flowers, making it one of the best places in the world for bee-watching.

Arkansas’s biodiversity includes numerous amazing creatures, and bees are among them.

Bees, with their delicate wings and intricate social structures, play an integral role in pollination, biodiversity, and the interconnectedness of ecosystems.

As we delve into the fascinating realm of types of bees in Arkansas, we unveil a diverse array of species, each with its unique traits and contributions.

Most people know Arkansas has two main types of bees: social and solitary.

1. Bumblebees

by wwarby is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bumblebees are the most common bee in Arkansas, with about 12 species.

They’re fuzzy and yellow-orange with black stripes on their abdomen. Their larvae are white and puffy, making them look like tiny cotton balls.

Bumblebees make a lot of noise when they fly, which can be heard from quite a distance away.

One way to identify bumblebees is by listening to their buzzing sound; they buzz while flying and working inside the hive.

These bees in Arkansas have very strong jaws that allow them to carry large loads, which makes them great pollinators!

2. European (Western) Honey Bees

Western honey bees are the best-known type of bee and the most common.

They are found throughout North America and Europe but were imported to North America from Europe by colonists.

These bees in Arkansas live in colonies with a queen, drones (males), and workers (females). 

Western honey bees have been extensively bred to be docile, which makes them popular among beekeepers.

Their life cycle is similar to other bees: they begin with an egg that hatches into a larva, then undergo several stages until they pupate and emerge as adults.

3. Large Carpenter Bees

Large Carpenter Bees
by JKehoe_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Large carpenter bees are one of the most common types you will find.

These bees are one of the largest species, with a body 3/4 inch long and an enlarged, hairy abdomen. They also have yellow-orange hair on their face and an orange spot on their thorax.

The females do not have stingers, but the males do! The large carpenter bee is one of the most common types you’ll find in Arkansas.

These particular bees are among the largest species – three-quarters of an inch long – with a hairy abdomen and orange spot on their thorax. The females don’t have stingers, but males do!

4. Carder Bees

Carder Bees
by S. Rae is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Carder bees are often mistaken for bumblebees but have thin, furry waists and black faces.

These types of bees in Arkansas are solitary and do not live in hives with other bees. They make their nests from pollen and plant fibers found on the ground.

The female carder bee builds the nest, lays eggs, and feeds the larvae until they pupate. Then she closes the nest to keep predators out until she is ready to build another one.

This is how these hard-working, solitary bees spend their lives – building nests for their children as fast as they can!

It takes about 2 weeks for them to go through the whole process, so carder bees can only build 2 or 3 nests at a time.

Female carder bees usually fly within 3 miles around where they were born; males typically fly more than twice that distance.

All kinds of animals love eating adults and larvae when they find a nest.

5. Long-Horned Bees

Long-Horned Bees
by treegrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Long-Horned bees are sometimes called Stinging Bees for a very good reason.

These bees in Arkansas are about the size of your thumb, and their sting will cause intense localized pain that can last for many hours.

The long-horned bee is also known to have a nasty habit of repeatedly attacking its victim, unlike other bees who only attack once.

Long-horned bees are not naturally aggressive but will attack if provoked.

Their venom will remain potent for about 20 minutes, so it’s important to be careful when dealing with these little creatures.

If you get stung by one of these buzzers, keep the area as clean and dry as possible until you get home or seek medical attention.

6. Sweat Bees

Sweat Bees
by siamesepuppy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sweat bees are parasitic bees that use humans, livestock, and other animals as hosts for their larvae.

They are the smallest type of bee found in North America and are about half the size of a penny.

The female sweat bee lays her eggs on or near a potential host, who then unknowingly carries them to their nesting site. 

Once there, the larva feeds on the liquid sweat from the animal’s skin before pupating into an adult bee.

White-Faced Bumblebee: These bumblebees live in arctic regions with subarctic climates. Like all bumblebees, they have queens, workers, and males.

7. Digger Bees

Digger Bees
by davidshort is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Digger bees are one of the most common types of bees in Arkansas.

They are often mistaken for bumblebees because they build their nests underground but are solitary bees and do not live with colonies.

These bees in Arkansas live worldwide and can be found in sandy soils to clay soil, mostly near the water’s edge. 

Many species vary by color and size, but they all get their name because they dig holes into the ground to make their nests.

These bees measure about 3-4 centimeters long and have a yellow head with black stripes.

8. Squash Bees

Squash Bees
by JK Nelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You’re more likely to find these pretty yellow and black striped bees buzzing around the flowers at your local grocery store than you are to see them up in Arkansas.

The squash bee ( Peponapis pruinosa) is a non-native species accidentally transported worldwide through produce imports.

They’re also not alone: their cousins include the common honeybee and some other native species like the bumblebee and carpenter bee.

But this one stands out because of its taste for cucumbers, which it will spend all day pollinating if given half a chance.

If you want to get close enough to take a picture, head to the market on Saturday morning when plenty of squash blooms hang off vines waiting for these industrious insects.

9. Polyester Bees

Polyester Bees
by tgpotterfield is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Polyester bees are part of the Megachilidae family, meaning they make their nests from a mixture of pollen and plant resins.

They are also one of the largest types of bee, growing to be about half an inch long.

Polyester bees are most often found in parts of Mexico, although they can be found all over North America.

It is believed that they prefer to live near cactus plants or other desert plants like mesquite trees or cottonwood trees.

Types of bees in Arkansas have very hairy hind legs that allow them to carry large amounts of pollen as they fly from flower to flower.

Unlike many other types of bees, polyester bees do not require a water source because they get moisture from the nectar and honeydew they collect while pollinating flowers.

10. Masked Bees

This bee is a member of the family Colletidae, and it is native to North America.

The masked bee has a brown or black body with white markings that give it an appearance that might remind some people of a wasp or hornet.

Masked bees are solitary bees, and they don’t live in colonies. 

These bees in Arkansas live by making burrows underground, and they emerge during the day to collect nectar from flowers.

Masked bees can nest close to humans without causing any problems, which makes them an excellent option for people who want to have pollinators nearby their homes but don’t want any contact with other types of bees.

They also like nesting near plants and trees, so homeowners may find these bees nesting under bird feeders if there are any in the area. 

If you come across one of these little creatures while gardening or working around your yard, leave them alone; they will be more than happy to fly away when you leave them alone!

The next time you notice one of these little guys buzzing around your garden or house, look closer – after all, he may just be looking for food or shelter!

11. Cuckoo Bees

Cuckoo Bees
by John Tann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cuckoo bees are small solitary bees that belong to the genus Nomada.

They parasitize other species of bees, such as honeybees and bumblebees, by laying their eggs inside the host bee’s brood cells.

Once the cuckoo bee larva hatches, it feeds on the host larva or pupa until it reaches adulthood and emerges from the cell. 

These types of bees in Arkansas are known for their parasitic behavior but also pollinate plants independently.

And contrary to popular belief, not all cuckoo bees lay their eggs in other bees’ nests; many species are solitary and do not need a host neste, like Nomada armata.

Erythrophthalma, specializing in taking over abandoned bumblebee colonies (bumblebee queens only live one year).

Others find holes near ground level where they can spend the winter months before finding a new colony to reproduce come springtime.

12. Mason Bees

Mason Bees
by macropoulos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Mason bees are named after the type of bee that makes their homes out of mud.

They do this by chewing up plant material and mixing it with saliva to create a paste-like substance called bee glue.

The bee will then scoop up some of this mixture and form it into a little ball. 

The bee will continue to make these little balls until they have created a new home for themselves.

Mason bees are one of the most common types in Arkansas because they don’t need special equipment, like other honey bees.

They are intuitive to build homes from the mud like generations before them. If you see little piles of small mounds on the ground, those are probably mason bees’ nests.

13. Leaf Cutter Bees

Leaf Cutter Bees
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Leafcutter bees are medium-sized, averaging about 4mm. They cut sections from leaves and petals to make their homes.

Leafcutter bees have a very interesting caste system, with only females able to lay eggs. 

Queens are born from fertilized eggs, and workers are born from unfertilized eggs. As the worker bees age, they become nurses, guards, or foragers, depending on their age and ability to do each job.

The guard bee’s primary responsibility is to protect the nest by collecting resin that they use as an insect repellent that they pass on to other colony members when it’s time for them to fly out of the nest. 

Workers are tasked with building comb cells, gathering pollen and nectar, caring for larvae, and cleaning cells and brood chambers.

There is also a caste known as foragers who collect pollen and nectar from flowers near the nest entrance.

When food is plentiful, forager bees will take full loads home, but if food sources dwindle, she’ll only take small amounts at a time to not attract too much attention from predators like birds.

14. Miner Bees

Miner Bees
by cricketsblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Miner bees are large, solitary bee that nests underground. They are black with yellow markings on their head and thorax.

Miner bees find an existing hole in the ground and burrow into it to create a nest chamber.

The larvae feed on the pollen stored by the adults before they emerge as adults. These are most commonly found near coniferous forests or along streams with abundant blueberry bushes. 

These types of bees in Arkansas can be very helpful in your garden because not only do they pollinate plants but also because they eat pests such as caterpillars and beetles.


Are we fascinated yet? The preceding information only covers the fifteen types of bees that live and thrive in Arkansas. These are just a few examples; there are many other types. 

The diverse range of bee species found in Arkansas is a testament to the state’s rich natural environment and the importance of pollinators in sustaining ecosystems.

From honey bees to bumble bees, each type of bee contributes to the delicate balance of nature by pollinating plants, ensuring the reproduction of countless species, and producing fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

These types of bees in Arkansas are vital for producing honey and other bee products, which benefit humans and provide economic opportunities for beekeepers in the region.

As we appreciate the beauty and importance of bees in Arkansas, we must recognize their challenges, such as habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.

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