You may have noticed bees buzzing about in the summer months and perhaps even encountered a bee or two in your back garden.
There are many different types of bees in Georgia, and their importance should not be underestimated – from producing honey to pollinating plants; bees are crucial to our ecosystem and our agricultural industries, which rely on bee pollination for crops such as almonds and watermelon!
If you’re interested in learning more about the various types of bees living in Georgia, keep reading!
Many types of bees exist in Georgia, but honeybees are the most well-known. Flowers, fruits, and vegetables benefit from honey bee pollination.
These types of bees in Georgia help plants grow and produce more fruit. Honeybees also make products like honey, wax, royal jelly, propolis, and venom that humans use daily.
In addition to their usefulness to plants, honeybees are responsible for producing over one-third of the food consumed by humans worldwide! Pollinating crops such as apples, almonds, avocados, and coffee would only be possible with them.
Without honey bees, there would be a shortage of certain foods we all enjoy including avocados, almonds, cucumbers, pumpkins, and many others.
There are two types of honeybee colonies: Africanized honeybee colonies and European honeybee colonies.
The Africanized colony was more aggressive than the European type; however, it produced less sweetener than the European type. The European style has a slightly longer life cycle than the Africanized type.
2. Carpenter Bees
Most carpenter bees have smooth, hairless abdomens. In contrast to its namesake, the carpenter bee does not drill holes into the wood with its mouth. Instead, it uses its mandibles to create openings for nesting in available cracks or crevices in the wood.
These types of bees in Georgia are solitary and feed on flower nectar from plants such as eucalyptus, citrus blossoms, and many others.
In addition to being pollinators, they also play an important role as predators by feeding on various pests such as aphids. They will eat other invertebrates, including caterpillars, ants, and termites.
Carpenter bees can often be mistaken for honeybees because they, too, will swarm around flowering trees and shrubs looking for pollen.
With an increase in urban areas, we see more carpenter bees entering homes through open doors or windows. Some homeowners may mistake these bugs for wasps or hornets when they see them inside their homes.
Bumblebees are social, with one queen per colony. These bees do not produce honey, but they do pollinate crops. The size of a bumblebee colony can range from 100 to 500 bees.
Bumblebee colonies are more active during fall months than in winter months. When considering different types of bees in Georgia, it noted that male bees could only be fertilized for about 24 hours before they die and cannot fly (although some males will try).
And finally, the next time you see a bee, keep your distance as these insects have stingers that inject venom when provoked.
There is a misconception that honeybees are aggressive and will sting anything, which is false. Honeybees are gentle creatures who generally avoid people if possible.
To reduce the number of stings while harvesting pollen or collecting nectar, wear protective clothing like gloves or cover up the skin on the face and arms with apparel.
When visiting an area where there are bees, such as a farm, don’t run away – stand still and let them get used to you. They’ll usually return to what they were doing after 10 minutes.
If you are allergic to bee stings, carry an EpiPen at all times; it could save your life!
4. Metallic Epauletted-Sweat Bee
The Metallic Epauletted-Sweat Bee can grow to 9mm and is known for its stunning metallic green body. The bee’s uniform is uniformly metallic green, with shades of green varying from bee to bee.
They have a white stripe that runs down the middle of the thorax, separating it into two sections, each containing two black spots on either side of the line.
There is also a thin white band at the top and bottom of the abdomen. Their size varies depending on species, but they average about 3 mm long or 7 mm, including wingspan.
These bees live in dry regions where few flowers are available because they do not collect pollen.
Instead, these types of bees in Georgia feed on nectar and plant exudates such as sap, tree resin, gum from coniferous trees, animal products such as bat droppings (honeyguides), urine (carrier bees), feces (carrion bees), and decaying animal matter like dung or carrion (maggot bees). As well as other insects such as spiders and aphids.
They use the water content of these items to produce honey which they store inside wax cells in burrows close to plants they want to pollinate.
One of their most important jobs is pollinating alfalfa crops by transferring pollen from male flowers to female flowers so both sexes produce seeds.
5. Stingless Bees
Bees are essential to our food supply, as they pollinate flowers which turn into fruit, vegetables, nuts, and even some spices. Without bees, we would only have a few types of crops that were not dependent on pollination by bees.
However, there is one type of bee native to the state of Georgia that does not sting but is still essential for agriculture.
Stingless bees are close relatives to honeybees but cannot sting because they lack a stinger.
These bees in Georgia can be found in great numbers worldwide, including in many parts of North America, such as Florida, where they are used commercially in avocado orchards and other crops.
In addition, these types of bees in Georgia are also very beneficial for natural insect control as they feed off insect pests.
While honeybees typically visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen from plants, stingless bees use their hairy bodies to scrape up nectar from leaves using a process known as licking. They also help with pollination by transferring pollen from one flower to another.
6. Squash Bees
The squash bee (Peponapis pruinose) is a common pollinator often confused with honeybees. The two are very different in appearance and behavior, allowing for easy identification.
A critical distinction between these two types of bees in Georgia is that the honeybee has an oval-shaped abdomen, while the squash bee has a round stomach.
Additionally, unlike the honeybee, which can produce both male and female offspring, only females exist within the population of squash bees, as they reproduce parthenogenetically.
Lastly, whereas the typical honeybee colony consists of 20-30 individuals consisting of drones, workers, and queens, there is only one queen per colony of squash bees that lay eggs to produce more females to continue the cycle.
As their name would imply, these bees in Georgia spend most of their time near cucurbit plants and flowers like squash, pumpkins, and melons.
They feed on pollen from flowering plants like red clover or goldenrod and enjoy pollen found on native plants such as blackberry vines or sweetgum trees.
7. Long-Horned Bee
A Longhorn bee’s long antennae make this fuzzy, medium-sized bee look cute. These bees are important pollinators that can gather nectar from various flowers.
They will also eat different types of honey and any liquid sweeteners they can find, such as syrup or molasses.
These types of bees in Georgia are called longhorns because their horns curl forward instead of the back like other types of bees’.
These insects enjoy a varied diet, including ap, tree juice, wood chewed by other insects for extra protein, and pollen from,m different types of plants. In some e cases, they may even be scavengers.
For this reason, these bees often get labeled as pests when they invade people’s homes looking for food.
One way homeowners can deal with the problem is to offer them a feeder filled with sugar water so that the longhorn bee does not have to search for food. Wide varieties of longhorn bees vary slightly in size and coloration.
8. Pure Green-Sweat Bee
A few halictid bee species nest in hollow trees, but this little green bee mainly uses holes in the ground. The Pure Green-Sweat Bee also only has one type of hair for its body, unlike other types of bees in Georgia with two kinds. These hairs help it regulate its body temperature better than other bees.
The Pure Green-Sweat Bee pollinates plants that need their pollen shaken loose from their anthers before the flower will release them.
In the early morning or evening, when there is not much wind or air movement, these types of bees in Georgia can be seen hovering around plants with a clump of pollen on their back legs like they’re preparing to shake it off into another plant to release its pollen load.
They are attracted to lavender, mint, and sage plants, so planting some near your garden could help keep these pollinators happy.
9. Flat-Tailed Leaf-Cutter Bee
These black, white-haired, flat-tailed leafcutter bees (Megachile mendicant) cut leaves to line their nests. The female builds a nest in a tree cavity, wall crack, or another crevice where she lays an egg on a food source for the larva.
The female then seals up the nest’s opening with her chewed-up leaf pieces so that she can leave and not come back.
She will only be present at the nest while laying eggs or feeding larvae. Flat-tailed leafcutters are solitary bees and usually produce only one brood per year.
They are important pollinators as they work both early and late in the day and during cloudy weather when many other bee species stop foraging.
They also use odors more than visual cues, which helps them locate flowers. And because of this unique ability, these types of bees in Georgia can travel great distances from the hive to find new sources of nectar.
In addition to being excellent pollinators, these humble creatures help maintain healthy forests by providing seed dispersal services and acting as predators of pest insects such as wasps and hornets.
10. Confusing Furrow Bee
The Confusing Furrow Bee (Halictus confusus), or southern bronze furrow bee, is a eusocial bee found in Georgia.
The females have a green head and thorax, which darkens into black on the abdomen. Males are smaller than females, have brown cores with yellow stripes, and can be distinguished by their large eyes.
These types of bees in Georgia live for around four months during summer, when they spend most of their time collecting nectar and pollen from flowers to store as food for themselves and their larvae during the winter months.
When temperatures drop below 54 degrees Fahrenheit, males and many unmated female bees die off, while others continue to lay eggs until they die at an average age of six weeks.
However, unlike other solitary bees, both male and female queens overwinter together underground in small clusters of up to 10 individuals and often near hibernating rodents.
They will then emerge in early spring, where they will mate before spending the majority of their time collecting pollen so that they can find enough protein to last through winter hibernation again.
11. Bicolored Striped Sweat Bee
The Bicolored Striped Sweat Bee has only a front side, which shines with an iridescent gleam, unlike the dark backside.
The females have longer hind wings than other sweat bees because they need these to be able to fly away from predators.
These are typically solitary bees that do not live in colonies or hives but can often be found nesting under rotting leaves or rocks.
The average life cycle for this type of bee is about one month. These types of bees in Georgia are best known for their ability to create intricate patterns on flowers like rose bushes and honeysuckle vines.
When it comes time to hibernate, these bees will find holes in wood where they will curl up and remain dormant until spring.
Female bicolored striped sweat bees can sting humans but rarely unless the individual threatens them directly. Males cannot sting at all, so it is usually better if you don’t try to swat them if you see them near your house.
Since they tend to avoid places disturbed by humans, these bees are also important pollinators of wild plants that would otherwise go untouched.
12. Modest Masked Bee
The Modest Masked Bee, also known as the leafcutter bee, is one type found in many parts of the world. They are giant bees with brownish-yellow to dark-brown abdomens. They have a distinctive head shape with ample space between their eyes and a rounded, flat face.
These types of bees in Georgia prefer to live near farms where they can pollinate crops such as apples, cherries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, cucumbers, squash (pumpkins), strawberries, tomatoes (and other plants) by cutting the leaves or petals off of the plant’s flowers to make nests for their eggs.
These bees fly from flower to flower, gathering pollen from each plant they visit so that when they return to their own nest, they will deposit it there so that the larvae inside will get enough food while growing.
Pollination is essential because, without it, we wouldn’t be able to eat many fruits and vegetables like berries!
13. Orange-Legged Furrow Bee
Based on their climate, this type of bee (Halictus rubicundus) exhibits orange-legged to black-legged social behavior.
The black-legged variety lives in colder climates like Europe, where they gather pollen from stonecrop plants during winter.
These types of bees in the Georgia variety live in warmer temperatures like those found in the southeastern United States, where they visit citrus trees or other flowering plants during their active season.
Both cases have a similar nesting strategy: solitary females create a burrow underground with a single entrance facing upward with an egg chamber at the end.
They collect pollen for food but primarily rely on honeydew for sustenance due to a lack of nectar sources when pollinators aren’t blooming or visiting flowers.
The Furrow Bee’s habitat includes agricultural fields and weedy areas like road shoulders. The Furrow Bee is important because it feeds off of the sweet secretions produced by aphids feeding on crops, acting as natural pest control without using chemicals.
14. Brown-Belted Bumble Bee
The brown-belted bumble bee (Bombus terricola) is a type found in Georgia. These types of bees in Georgia are medium-sized, with workers ranging from 11-14 mm long.
Brown-belted bumble bees also have black markings on their abdomen that resemble stripes, hence the name.
Unlike other types of bees, the worker class for brown-belted bumble bees does not live inside a colony but instead lives solitary lives away from their nestmates.
The workers will only come together to mate with males and reproduce new queens before returning to living isolated lives. They also act as pollinators during this time.
Brown-belted bumble bees have been known to play host to parasitic mites, but they do not suffer significant effects.
However, these parasitic mites can be transferred onto wildflowers or crops if brown-belted bumble bees feed there.
15. Oblique Longhorn
Oblique Longhorn bees are native to the southeastern United States. This bee can be identified by its distinctive diagonal stripes on the abdomen. These solitary bees are important pollinators, as they do not produce honey.
Oblique Longhorn bees feed on pollen from pine trees, flowers, and other plants. They use their long tongues to collect pollen from the male reproductive organs of flowers in a process they call buzz pollination.
This is done by vibrating their flight muscles at a rate that causes pollen grains to shake loose from these organs so they can be collected with the tongue.
The pollen is then transferred to another flower for fertilization. These bees in Georgia also benefit humans because they feed on insects that damage crops, including caterpillars and plant hoppers.
A bee is a flying insect with a long tongue that feeds on nectar and pollen. The honeybee is the most well-known species, although it is not native to North America.
Honeybees are important pollinators because they help plants reproduce by transferring pollen from flower to flower.
In addition, their honey production provides a valuable food source for humans. However, these types of bees in Georgia are at risk of extinction due to Colony Collapse Disorder.
If more people were aware of the importance of bees and how they contribute to the environment and our daily lives, we would all do our part in preserving them! As much as I love flowers, I like being able to eat too.