How many types of bees in Wisconsin? There are more than you might think, and all of them play an essential role in maintaining the health of our ecosystem.
Here’s how to tell them apart based on their physical characteristics and behaviors so that you can appreciate these wonderful, beautiful even more!
1. Common Eastern Bumblebee
Common Eastern Bumblebees are one of the most common and numerous types of bees in Wisconsin.
They have a robust, dark orange abdomen with black and yellow stripes on their thorax. They often buzz from flower to flower during the summer and fall months.
Common Eastern Bumblebees can fly up to 20 miles per hour, so they can often be spotted flying back and forth between flowers.
The Common Eastern Bumblebee is also known as the cuckoo bee because it lays eggs in the nests of other bees, such as carpenter bees or honeybees, where their larvae will eat the host’s young, killing them slowly over time.
2. Golden Northern Bumblebee
The golden northern bumblebee is a medium-sized bee with a dark abdomen and bright yellow-and-orange hair on its thorax.
They forage for nectar and pollen on various, including sunflowers, clovers, and daisies. They nest in the ground or old rodent burrows, making nests of wax mixed with plant resins and tree sap.
Golden northern bumblebees are solitary bees that do not live in colonies like honeybees. Males can often be seen hovering around nests as they wait to mate with females after hibernation.
Females make only one brood per season but can produce between two and four eggs per clutch.
The golden northern bumblebee prefers cooler temperatures, which means they don’t thrive in climates where average temperatures exceed 90°F (32°C).
3. Tricolored Bumblebee
The Tricolored Bumblebee is a large bumblebee with a black and yellow banded abdomen. The female can range from 20 to 24 millimeters in length, and the male is smaller, at 18 to 20 millimeters.
They are found throughout the United States and Canada, although they are not as crowded in crowd southern US as other types of bees.
These types of bees in Wisconsin have more hair on their body than other bumblebees, which helps them to stay warm during colder months.
4. Pure Gold-Green Sweat Bee
The Pure Gold-Green Sweat Bee sometimes called the Gold Sweat Bee or just the Green Sweat Bee, is a yellow-green bee named for its habit of collecting sweat droplets on its abdomen.
It is also known as a sweat bee because it frequently contains salt from human sweat to supplement its diet.
These types of bees in Wisconsin get this salt by licking their abdomen and then rubbing it against flowers.
The Pure Gold-Green Sweat Bee prefers native flowers with an open structure like umbels and lilies. They are attracted to scents like spicebush and petunia. Their population has been declining due to habitat loss.
They pollinate many different types of plants, including legumes, cacti, and cucumbers. If you find one crawling around in your home, they might be looking for a way outside!
5. Long-Horned Bee
One of the most common types of bees in Wisconsin, the long-horned bee, is recognized by its dark brown body, yellow face, and protruding black eyes.
The long-horned bees are active foragers, meaning they search for pollen and nectar on plants, trees, and flowers.
They are also social bees that live in colonies with a queen bee and about 1,000 to 2,000 male drones.
Females can be identified by their larger abdomen and lack of stinger; males have a smaller abdomen and a stinger which they use to fertilize the queen.
Unlike honeybees, however, long-horned bees will sting humans if provoked, so it’s best to leave them alone!
Not only do these little guys pollinate the flowers you enjoy, but they also help control pests around your property.
If you spot one of these buzzing around your garden or flower bed, consider yourself lucky because this means your garden is pollinated with some of the most effective bee species!
6. Leaf-Cutter Bee
Leaf-cutter bees are giant, hairy, black, and yellow insects with distinctive green stripes on their abdomen. These bees cut leaves into pieces to create individual cells for their larvae.
Leaf-cutter bees are solitary creatures that only mate once in their lifetime, meaning they will take care of all the responsibilities of raising their young.
The leaf-cutter bee gets its name by cutting leaves from plants like roses and tulips to create cells for its offspring.
Female leaf-cutter bees can lay up to 20 eggs daily and then carry them back to their cell before sealing them inside.
Once the larva hatches, the female uses nectar and pollen as food to keep her offspring alive until they’re ready to pupate.
7. Mason Bee
Mason bees are one of the types of bees in Wisconsin. They are often called blueberry bees because they pollinate blueberries. Mason bees were named for the way their nests look like a mason’s trowel.
The female mason bee will make her nest in either an abandoned bird’s nest, a hollow plant stem, or an old rodent burrow.
Then she will fill it with nectar and pollen to feed her larvae when they hatch. She will also lay eggs on top of the stored food.
She lays one egg daily and can lay up to three eggs daily in warm weather. If you want your flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables to be healthy, you must attract these types of bees into your garden!
8. Mason Bee
The mason bee is a solitary bee that nests in abandoned rodent burrows, crevices, and tunnels. They are most active at dusk and dawn when collecting pollen from the flowers.
The mason bee has been spotted in southern Minnesota, eastern Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.
Their body size ranges from 2-3 centimeters long with a black head and thorax with a metallic green abdomen.
Mason bees have a single pair of transparent wings slightly longer than their abdomen but not as long as honeybees.
To identify the mason bee from other types of bees in Wisconsin, you can look for the following characteristics: -Mason bees have thick bodies with hairy abdomens -The thorax is black with a metallic sheen.
9. Carder Bee
Carder bees (Anthidium bimaculatum) are giant, black, solitary bees with yellowish bands on their abdomens. They are often mistaken for sweat bees because of their large size and slow flight pattern.
However, carder bees have large hairy forelegs, which they use to comb the hair-like scales that line the cells of their nest to create a card from which they get their name.
The females will then seal these cards with wax to create cells for their eggs in batches of up to two dozen or so in each cell.
Carder bee males do not have these hair-like scales on their forelegs but can be distinguished by their smaller size and white patch at the end of the abdomen.
10. Squash Bee
The Squash bee (Peponapis pruinosa) is a small bee that makes its home in squash and pumpkin plants. These types of bees in Wisconsin pollinate squash, pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.
The squash bee is often mistaken for the honeybee due to its similarities in coloring, but the two types of bees have a few differences.
The squash bee has a smaller body size than the honeybee, a white-striped abdomen, and wings with yellow spots.
They are also less aggressive than honeybees and rarely sting unless provoked or threatened. Squash bees prefer warmer weather and fly from April until November, when they die off.
They’re most active during daylight hours, typically when they’re looking for food sources. When it comes time to hibernate, they usually find hollow stems or logs as shelter to stay warm during the cold winter months.
11. Cellophane Bee
Cellophane bees are the smallest of the types of bees in Wisconsin, measuring only 1.5 mm in length. They are characterized by a dark spot on their thorax and yellow-tinted wings.
This type of bee is typically found near water sources and is solitary, meaning it has a nest.
Cellophane bees feed on nectar from flowers, which they collect with long tongue-like structures called proboscis.
Unlike other bees, these insects cannot produce honey. As larvae, cellophane bees resemble tiny caterpillars and eat pollen and insects like spiders or aphids.
12. Masked Bee
The masked bee is a good pollinator for plants like squash, cucumbers, and melons. Masked bees are often mistaken for bumblebees due to their size and the fact that they don’t have stripes or patches on their abdomens.
One way to tell them apart is the shape of their head.
The masked bee’s head is more oval-shaped, while the bumblebee has a rounder face. Masked bees also have longer mandibles than bumblebees do.
Their stingers are found in their abdomen, unlike the bumblebee, which only has one stinger at its tail end.
These bees can be hard to find in North America since they’re primarily found in warmer climates, but if you happen to see one, you’ll know what it is because it will fly around flowers without fear.
13. Mining Bee
If you’re looking for a bee that looks like the honeybees of your childhood, the mining bee is probably different from what you want. Mining bees are small and dark but have an orange stripe across their thorax.
They also have two hairless strips on either side of their abdomen, distinguishing them from other types of bees in Wisconsin.
Mining bees are often seen near wildflowers or with pollen and nectar, as they don’t produce honey.
Mining bees are distinguished from other bee species because they are not social, so you’ll find them alone or in pairs.
14. Small Carpenter Bee
This small, black and yellow bee is a pollinator for many garden plants such as daisies and zinnias. The female carpenter bee collects pollen from various flowers to make her nest.
She will use mud to construct the walls of her nest, which will be a tube-like structure that is open at both ends.
The male carpenter bee will mate with the female carpenter bee while she is building her nest. When it’s time to lay eggs, she will seal off one end of the tube-like structure with mud and fill it with eggs before sealing off the other.
Depending on size, she may lay between three to six eggs in each tube-like network.
So, you want to learn more about bees in Wisconsin? Whether you’re a beekeeper or not, it’s essential to know how to identify the different types of bees that call our state home.
Knowing which types of bees in Wisconsin are buzzing around your flowers can help make those pollination plans more fruitful.
Read on for some tips on how to tell the difference between honeybees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees so that you can appreciate the diversity of life here in WI.