16 Different Types of Bees in Hawaii

Different Types of Bees in Hawaii
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If you’re visiting Hawaii, you’re likely to encounter a variety of bees.

As the 50th state of the United States, Hawaii has a fantastic array of flora and fauna, many of which are unique to the islands.

There are several types of bees in Hawaii we are sure you’ve never heard of. 

Bees are an essential part of the ecosystem, and it’s interesting to learn about the different types of bees in Hawaii.

In our blog post, we’ll look at some of the most common types of bees in Hawaii.

1. Tricolored Bumble Bee

The Tricolored Bumble Bee is first on our list of types of bees in Hawaii. It is a native bee found in Hawaii. It is an impressive insect with vibrant black, yellow, and white markings and long antennae. 

This bee species is considered a ‘keystone’ species, as it plays a crucial role in the health of its local ecosystems. The Tricolored Bumble Bee is known to be an efficient pollinator and feeds on nectar from a variety of different flowers. 

It also helps to control pests by consuming other insects. As a result, this species is important for maintaining the diversity of plants and animals in Hawaii’s native habitats. The Tricolored Bumble Bee is threatened in some parts of the world due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides. It is, therefore, essential to protect this species in Hawaii. 

This can be done by avoiding harmful chemicals near bee habitats and providing habitat for these types of bees in Hawaii with flowering plants. Doing so will help ensure this beautiful and valuable species continues to thrive in Hawaii’s lush landscapes.

2. Two-Spotted Longhorn Bee

The two-spotted longhorn bee is also on our list of types of bees in Hawaii. These bees are commonly found in forest habitats and coastal areas. 

They have an average length of 8-10mm, and their bodies are mainly black with yellow bands. The two-spotted longhorn bee is solitary, meaning they do not live in colonies like honey bees. They are usually found pollinating flowers and collecting nectar from various plants. 

As the name suggests, these types of bees in Hawaii have two spots on the back of their abdomens. They also have long antennae and legs that help them reach the nectar of deep-throated flowers. These bees are essential pollinators for various plants, helping them grow and spread.

3. Long-Horned Bee

The long-horned bee (Melissodes spp.) is a large and easily recognizable type found in Hawaii. They have long antennae, ranging from 3-4 cm in length, and are covered in hairs. 

The bees are usually black or dark brown but sometimes yellowish or orange. These types of bees in Hawaii are known for their strong affinity for flowers, especially those with nectar. Long-horned bees are solitary and rarely interact with other bees. 

They are also important pollinators, helping to spread pollen and help plants reproduce. Long-horned bees build their nests on the ground or on hollow logs or tree trunks. They can live up to five years, and females will lay several eggs at a time. 

Long-horned bees are relatively easy to spot because of their size and long antennae. They are an important part of the local ecosystem, providing plant food and pollination services. While they may appear intimidating due to their size, they are relatively harmless and not aggressive toward humans.

4. Leaf-Cutter Bee

Leaf-cutter bees are small, dark-colored bees native to Hawaii. They are solitary bees, meaning they do not live in colonies and can be found on all the major islands of Hawaii. 

Leaf-cutter bees get their name from the nesting material they collect, leaves which they cut into thin strips and use to line their nests. They prefer to nest in bare soil and are most active during the day. These types of bees in Hawaii are essential pollinators for many species of plants and flowers, including alfalfa, sunflowers, and clover.

5. Honey Bee

The Honey Bee, scientifically known as Apis mellifera, is a type of bee native to Hawaii. This bee species is found in both wild and managed hives throughout the state. 

The honey bee is an important pollinator of many flowering plants, including the iconic tropical flower varieties commonly seen in Hawaii’s forests, gardens, and parks. They can be identified by their yellow and black striped abdomens and hairy bodies. 

Honey bees also produce various products, including honey, propolis, and wax. The Honey Bee plays an important role in the environment and economy of Hawaii. These pollinators help to ensure the propagation of many species of plants and trees used for food production and landscaping. 

They also produce valuable raw materials for businesses like food manufacturing, health and beauty products, and wax for candles. By preserving Hawaii’s honey bee populations, we are helping to maintain a balanced ecosystem and a vibrant economy.

6. Golden Northern Bumble Bee

The Golden Northern Bumble Bee (Bombus fervidas) is a bumble bee found in Hawaii. This species has yellow and black stripes on its abdomen and can be found in meadows, gardens, and other open areas. 

They are important pollinators and play an essential role in the ecosystem of Hawaii. The bees can be found on Hawaiian islands such as Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and the Big Island. 

They can also be spotted in urban areas, especially near flowering plants. The Golden Northern Bumble Bee plays an important role in helping to maintain biodiversity in Hawaii.

7. Cuckoo Bee

The Cuckoo Bee is a type of solitary bee that is found in the Hawaiian islands. It is a small, dark-colored bee with a round head and short antennae. 

These types of bees in Hawaii are unique in that they do not build their nests but instead rely on taking over the existing nests of other bees. They lay their eggs in the other bee’s nest, and then the cuckoo bee larvae feed on the host bee’s eggs and larvae while the host bee continues to tend to the nest. 

This is why they are sometimes referred to as “cuckoo” bees. They are considered beneficial pollinators, as they visit flowers of various types throughout the islands. Cuckoo Bees are an essential part of the native Hawaiian ecology and have been a part of the island’s ecosystem for thousands of years. 

Although they do not contribute directly to crop production, they are necessary for the overall health of Hawaii’s natural environment. They are considered to be a vital component of the local pollinator network. The conservation of these bees is essential for the future of Hawaii’s natural environment and biodiversity.

8. Brown-Belted Bumble Bee

The Brown-belted Bumble Bee is next on our list of types of bees in Hawaii. This species is often characterized by its yellow and brown stripes and distinctive buzz. Its body length ranges between 13-17 mm, and it has a wingspan of about 16-20 mm. 

This species can be found in many parts of the Hawaiian Islands, from the main islands’ highlands to the outer islands’ lowlands. They are known to pollinate many flowers and plants but also feed on the nectar of certain flowers. This species is important to the ecosystem of Hawaii, as it helps to keep the balance between plants, insects, and other wildlife in the area.

9. Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee

The Bicolored Agapostemon Sweat Bee is a small species of bee native to Hawaii. This bee species is usually found in the Hawaiian Islands and feeds on nectar and pollen.

These types of bees in Hawaii are known for their long tongues, which allow them to reach deep into flowers to get the most nectar. They are also essential pollinators in Hawaii and help to maintain the natural balance of the environment. 

These bees can be identified by their black and yellow stripes, as well as their large size. They are solitary creatures and typically nest in the ground or other cavities, such as holes in tree trunks.

10. American Bumble Bee

The American Bumble Bee (Bombus pensylvanicus) is a bee native to Hawaii. This species of bee is often seen around lowland areas and in gardens, and they are essential pollinators of many wild and cultivated plants. 

They are social bees, living in colonies with queens and workers. The queens typically build nests in the ground while the workers collect nectar and pollen from flowers. The American Bumble Bee is typically black and yellow or orange, with a white tail.

The American Bumble Bee has become rarer in recent years due to several factors, such as habitat loss and the use of pesticides. As a result, it is important to protect and conserve their habitat to ensure the survival of this species of bee in Hawaii. Conservation efforts include limiting pesticides, creating pollinator-friendly habitats, and planting native flowers that attract bees.

11. Agapostemon Sweat Bee

Agapostemon Sweat Bee, or simply Agapostemon, is a type of bee found in Hawaii. These types of bees in Hawaii have unique characteristics and habits, making them some of the fascinating creatures to observe in their native environment. 

Agapostemon Sweat Bees are usually bright green, yellow, or black and often appear on flowers. They are also known to feed on a variety of flowers and fruits. They build their nests in small holes in the ground and trees.

As with other types of bees in Hawaii, Agapostemon Sweat Bees pollinate flowers, which benefits the local ecosystem. They also produce honey, although it is not as sweet as other bees.

Agapostemon Sweat Bees can be seen flying around in large groups and are considered one of the most social bee species. They have a lifespan of up to four years, which is quite impressive for a bee. 

Their behavior has made them popular among beekeepers as they are relatively docile and easy to manage. Despite their small size, these bees are vital for maintaining a healthy environment in Hawaii, so it is important to take care of them.

12. Sweat Bee

Sweat bees are a diverse species of bee found in Hawaii. These types of bees in Hawaii range from small to large and can be identified by their metallic green and black coloration. They are generally solitary bees, meaning they live and forage alone.

Sweat bees are also known for their strong affinity for human sweat, often coming close to humans and other animals to drink the salty liquid. Sweat bees are some of the most important pollinators in Hawaii.

They have been observed pollinating various plants, including flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses. This is an essential task that helps to ensure the health of native ecosystems in Hawaii. Additionally, sweat bees are an essential food source for birds, lizards, and other insects, helping to maintain the balance of local wildlife populations.

13. Small Carpenter Bee

Small Carpenter Bees are a type of bee found in Hawaii. They are small in size and come in a variety of colors. 

These bees in Hawaii can be seen gathering pollen from flowers or searching for nectar in trees and shrubs. They can be found in both urban and rural areas. Small Carpenter Bees have short antennae, short legs, and a thick head with a round body shape. 

They are social bees, living in colonies and working together to build nests in hollow plant stems, tree cavities, and holes in walls. Small Carpenter Bees are essential pollinators of native plants in Hawaii, such as the hibiscus, the mountain apple, and the endemic lobeliads. 

Without them, these plants would not be able to produce the fruit and seeds they need to survive. So, it is essential to protect these types of bees in Hawaii pollinators by avoiding using pesticides or other chemicals that can kill them.

14. Northern Golden Bumble Bee

The Northern Golden Bumble Bee is found in Hawaii and is a very distinctive bee species. It is small, around 10-15 mm, and has a black body with yellow bands on its abdomen. 

The Northern Golden Bumble Bee is usually foraging for pollen in open fields and meadows. Still, it can also be found in disturbed habitats such as gardens, vacant lots, and even urban parks. They are particularly fond of legumes and can be seen visiting lupines and other legumes.

Meanwhile, they are essential pollinators of many wildflowers and vegetable plants. They are social insects and form large colonies during the summer months. They can become quite aggressive if disturbed, so it is best to admire them from a distance.

15. Miner Bee

Miner bees are some of the most common types of bees in Hawaii. They have a wide variety of colors, ranging from black to reddish-brown. 

They are small bees and can range in size from 5 to 12 mm in length. Miner bees are typically solitary and don’t build colonies or nests like other bees. The miner bee’s diet consists mainly of pollen and nectar, and it acts as a pollinator for many of the plants in Hawaii.

In Hawaii, miner bees are commonly seen in flower-filled areas such as meadows and gardens. However, they can also be found in areas with sandy or clay soils. 

These types of bees in Hawaii often have very short lifespans, only living for several weeks during the summer months. They are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems in Hawaii, as their pollination helps many different species of plants to reproduce.

16. Mason Bee

Lastly on our list of types of bees in Hawaii is Mason bees, which their metallic blue-green coloring can recognize. The Mason bee is a solitary bee that prefers to live in its own nest or hole, which it creates by excavating the inside of hollow stems or dead wood. 

It has long antennae and is usually less than 1⁄2 inch in length. It is a beneficial pollinator for many flowering plants and fruits. Mason bees also have a unique mating behavior in which the male will protect a particular area of flowers and chase off other males who attempt to court females in the same area. 

Mason bees are very docile and rarely sting, making them an excellent choice for people looking to attract bees to their gardens. They are essential pollinators of native plants and wildflowers in Hawaii, making them an integral part of the natural ecosystem. 

To attract more beneficial bees to your garden, consider planting native flowering plants or providing nesting sites by drilling holes in wood blocks or logs. Mason bees can help your garden thrive, so make sure you do your part to provide a safe and welcoming environment for these incredible creatures!

Conclusion

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and diverse wildlife. One of the fascinating aspects of Hawaii’s wildlife is its many bee species. From the types of bees in Hawaii to those brought in from other parts of the world, there’s no shortage of bee species buzzing around the islands.

Above, we explored the different types of bees in Hawaii. From their habitats to their roles in the ecosystem, we hope you’ve learned all about the fantastic bees of Hawaii.

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