With so many types of bees to choose from in Oregon, it’s easy to see how people could get confused about the different types of bees.
You’ll find honeybees and bumblebees, of course, but there are also several other types of bees in Oregon that might surprise you.
Here’s a list of fifteen types of bees in Oregon that you probably didn’t know existed!
Bumblebees are one of the most common types of bees in Oregon and can be found from Canada to Mexico.
They live almost everywhere, from mountainous regions to deserts, and all you have to do is look for a flower with a lot of pollen on it for your best chance of finding one. But why are bumblebees so important?
They’re a significant pollinator for many plants, which means without them, we wouldn’t have many delicious fruits and vegetables that we love so much.
Bumblebees pollinate about $3 billion worth of crops each year!
That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. So next time you see a bumblebee buzzing around your garden, give them a pat on the back because they’re doing good work for us humans.
2. European (Western) Honey Bees
The European Honey Bee can be found throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
They are excellent pollinators and produce great honey for humans to enjoy. The European (Western) Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera) –
This species is one of the most commonly seen types of bees found around North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
These types of bees in Oregon are dark brown or tan with blackheads and yellow-white stripes on their abdomen. They are essential for pollinating plants and producing honey for humans to consume.
3. Large Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees are giant, jet-black, bumblebee-like insects. They measure about 1 inch long and have a fat body. They can be found all over the United States but are more common in the South and West.
They fly from flower to flower, collecting pollen and nectar, but they will also chew through wood to create nests for their young.
These nests can cause structural damage if left untreated. They can also sting people, although not often.
The males and females mate during flight. Males die after mating. Females can live up to two months without food or water before dying.
4. Small Carpenter Bees
In the state of Oregon, there are many different types of bees. Some bees that you may not have heard of are the small carpenter bee, carpenter bee, and leafcutter bee.
These three types of bees in Oregon all look very similar but are actually very different in size and color.
The small carpenter bee is usually found on the west coast and is typically yellow-brown. The carpenter bee is giant than the trim carpenters, and it has a black body with orange stripes or bands on its abdomen, making it easy for people to identify this type.
Lastly, the leafcutter bee has many colors, such as green, blue, white, and red. All three of these types of bees feed off pollen from flowers.
5. Long-Horned Bees
About ten species of bees are native to Oregon and the United States, including the long-horned bee. Long-horned bees are solitary ground nesters that build their nests out of mud, straws, and leaves.
The female long-horned bee is responsible for constructing the nest and incubating her eggs.
Long-horned bees lay their eggs on top of an empty cell within the nest, filling it with a mix of pollen and nectar before sealing it off with mud or resin.
Female long-horns will create another partition next to this one and repeat the process until she has completed four or five cells per egg clutch.
She only lays one egg in each cell and never more than two. Each time she lays an egg, the mother will seal the previous one with clay or resin so they don’t hatch simultaneously.
6. Sweat Bees
Sweat bees are the tiniest, measuring less than one millimeter long. Their bodies are dark and shiny, and their wings have a reflective gold or greenish hue.
These types of bees in Oregon get their name because they love to feed on human sweat.
The thought may seem unappealing, but these tiny creatures are harmless and often end up landing on us accidentally when they’re out looking for nectar sources.
Sweat bees will also visit flowers, so don’t be surprised if you see them buzzing around your garden! They are considered solitary bees because they do not form colonies like other species.
They lay eggs alone, which hatch into larvae and pupate before emerging as adults to mate. Males die after mating, while females hibernate until the following spring.
7. Squash Bees
Squash bees use their stingers to paralyze the insect prey, which they then drag back to the nest and feed their young.
It is not uncommon for them to take over abandoned bird nests. They often build their nests in the open, on flower heads, or even squash vines.
Though they can be a nuisance, these wasps are essential in pollinating plants and reducing garden pests that would otherwise destroy your productivity.
8. Digger Bees
Digger bees are so named because they spend their entire lives underground, digging tunnels and creating nests. They’re typically ground-nesting species and do not produce honey.
Unlike other types of bees in Oregon, digger bees do not have a queen and instead have a single female that lays eggs.
To reproduce, the female will take over an abandoned ground burrow, where she will mate with the male bee and lay her eggs.
Digger bee females are often mistaken for bumblebees due to their large size; they can be up to twice as long as the average honeybee and three times as heavy.
9. Polyester Bees
Polyester bees, also known as plasterer bees, are one of the few bees native to North America.
They construct nests by chewing through wood and mixing the chewed wood with their saliva. This mixture is then used to seal cracks and crevices in the wood where they live.
Polyester bees can be found throughout North America but are especially common in the Pacific Northwest region.
They don’t sting humans or other animals unless they feel threatened. If you’re ever stung by a polyester bee, it means that it feels its nest is being threatened.
If you see a yellow jacket on the ground (which would be unusual for this time of year), it’s likely a polyester bee being chased away from its nest.
10. Masked Bees
Did you know there are over 20,000 different species of bees? And out of those 20,000 species, only a few thousand have been officially named.
The masked bee is one such species that has not yet been given an official name! Masked bees are black and yellow striped with a white dot on their head.
These types of bees in Oregon live in temperate regions (anywhere from the southern United States to Canada) and typically nest under tree bark.
Though they mostly eat flower nectar, they occasionally eat insects as well. When it comes time to look for a home, they take flight and explore nearby vegetation until they find the perfect spot!
The best way to identify a masked bee is by looking at its stripes. If they have no lines, then it’s likely that you’re looking at another type of bee.
11. Cuckoo Bees
Cuckoo bees are tiny bees that lay their eggs in the nests of other, more giant bees. For example, a cuckoo bee may lay eggs in a bumblebee nest.
When the cuckoo bee egg hatches, the baby bee will eat the bumblebee larvae and compete for food with the other nest inhabitants.
Cuckoo bees are named for this behavior because they lay their eggs in someone else’s nest. Male cuckoo bees do not have stingers, so they can only reproduce by mating with females from other species.
Female cuckoos typically have stingers but use them to defend themselves against predators instead of stinging people.
12. Mason Bees
Mason bees are solitary bees belonging to the genus Osmia, one of the most common types of bees in Oregon.
Mason bees are also called blue orchard bees because they collect pollen from wildflowers, primarily blue, and use it to produce honey.
Mason bee larvae develop inside cocoons within individual cells made by their mothers.
The mother mason bee seals each cell with a cap that helps protect the cocoon during winter. After pupating, the larva emerges as an adult during springtime.
Mason bee larvae will eat pollen until it has been fully consumed and turned into honey. Adult masons then seal their cells for winter with a wax layer produced by glands on their abdomens.
13. Leaf Cutter Bees
Leafcutter bees are solitary, but they have a vital role. The female bees will chew off pieces of leaves and carry them back to their nests, creating little holes and filling them with the chewed-up leaves.
There are many different leafcutter bees, including Megachile Ursa and Megachile rotundata.
Leafcutter bees live near forests or wooded areas, where their favorite type of leaves grows. They prefer red oak, black oak, and California buckeye trees.
These types of trees provide more food for them than pine trees. Leafcutter bees also use resin from these trees as a sealant for their nest cavities.
Leafcutter bees may be small in size, but they play an essential role in nature by recycling materials that would otherwise go unused.
14. Miner Bees
Miner bees are not content with just one type of flower. When they find a flower that has been pollinated, they will move on to the next one.
Miner bees are solitary and do not live in colonies like other types of bees in Oregon.
They nest underground or under logs, using their saliva to create the nest’s outer layer. The females collect pollen from flowers, while the males feed on nectar from plants and trees.
Miner bees are solitary and do not live in colonies like other types of bees. They nest underground or under logs, using their saliva to create the nest’s outer layer.
The females collect pollen from flowers, while the males feed on nectar from plants and trees.
15. Carder Bees
Carder bees are one of the most common types of bees in Oregon. Despite their name, carder bees can be quite aggressive and will sting if disturbed.
Carder bees create their nests by chewing fibers from plants such as wildflowers and stinging nettles to make a nest lined with a resin secreted from the worker’s mouth.
A single carder bee nest can contain up to 400 cells for larvae, and an adult female carder bee will create up to 5-6 new cells every day.
The queen lays eggs in each cell, and once the egg hatches, it is fed nectar by worker carder bees while they clean it with their antennae before sealing off the cell with wax.
The number of bee species we have in Oregon is surprising. There are many more than just the honeybee that most people know about; these other types of bees are all critical to our environment.
Each type of bee pollinates plants, provides food for different animals, and makes honey that humans harvest to eat or use for other purposes.
So next time you see a bee buzzing around and don’t know what it is, don’t worry! It’s probably doing something important for the ecosystem.
The number of bee species we have in Oregon is surprising. We hope you enjoyed the great article talking about the types of bees in Oregon.