Different types of honey bees have recently become the subject of many people’s interest. The honey bee plays a significant role in pollinating flowers, particularly the blossoms responsible for producing our fruits and vegetables.
In addition to that, they provide us with honey to consume. The honey bee is a distinct species from other types of bees, including bumble bees, wasps, and yellow jackets.
Apis mellifera is the name given to the honey bee in scientific circles. There are eight different species of honey bees, with Apis mellifera being one of them. Honey-carrying bee is the literal translation of the scientific name Apis mellifera.
However, even though these types of honey bees do not carry honey but rather nectar, they are still referred to by their traditional name.
Honeybees belong to the species Apis mellifera, and within that species are subspecies known as races.
Like all other living creatures, honey bees exhibit a wide range of personality qualities, as well as differences in their resistance to disease and their output level.
The environment significantly impacts the variances between bee colonies; nevertheless, a colony’s genetic makeup can also affect the traits that are characteristic of a particular group.
Beekeepers have long been aware that various genetic stocks each have unique features; as a result, they have utilized various strains of bees to fulfill their specific needs, whether pollination, the production of honey, or the raising of bees.
Have you thought about turning your garden into a bee farm? Before getting started, you first need to research the many species of honey bees that are now on the market.
Examine each of them to see which one is most suitable for you!
1. Western/European Honey Bee
The Apis Mellifera is ideal for beginning beekeepers interested in domesticated bee species. They are well known for the yellow stripes that run down their abdomens and for their propensity to form big colonies, even in natural settings.
Since the dawn of time, people have been fascinated with these particular kinds of bees. Because of this, evolution took place to accommodate the requirements of raising domesticated bees.
For instance, the Apis Mellifera honey bee is not as combative as some other types of honey bees. Yet, it can consistently produce an incredibly enormous quantity of honey.
In addition, they have developed a certain level of resilience against settings that humans dominate.
2. Italian Honey Bee
The Apis Mellifera Ligustica is the most common honey bee species found in North America. It is a subspecies of the Apis Mellifera genus and comes from Italy.
The amiable demeanor of the Apis Mellifera Liguistica and its excellent honey output has won the locals’ hearts. Because of all these factors combined, beekeeping is one of their finest uses.
In addition to that, their overall design is quite pleasing to the eye. Apis Mellifera Liguistica has a beautiful gold body with dark black stripes.
However, they have a propensity for wandering away from the beehive. Because of this, beekeepers will need to keep a close eye on them to ensure that the bees do not wander off.
Despite their propensity to become lost, Bees do not prefer to travel great distances in search of food. As a result, beekeepers will need to surround the bees with many different kinds of flowers that provide nectar.
3. The Gray/Carniolan Honey Bee
Because of their docile demeanor, Apis Mellifera Carnica bees are an excellent choice for beginning beekeepers concerned about the dangers of working with bees with a hostile disposition. They are quite easy to deal with, and you won’t need to use the smoker frequently.
In addition, they can withstand the winter without suffering any reduction in the size of their colony. During the winter months, you may be able to collect a few jars of honey.
The main problem here may be that, when spring arrives, their colony number explodes to completely unprecedented levels. Because of this, one is more likely to get swarmed.
4. Himalayan Honey Bee
Across much of Asia, the Apis Cerana species predominates as the most common type of honeybee. Honey bees of this sort can be found in many different nations, including Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, and Malaysia, to name just a few.
These honeybees stand out from other species due to their resistance to various climatic conditions and infectious diseases.
To increase honey output, many businesses in Asia have opted to import honey bees from Europe. This is because the Apis Cerana is a very small species.
This resulted in an increase in the number of diseases. However, rather than falling extinct, the Apis cerana responded by becoming cleaner as a means of survival.
These types of honey bees are one of the few varieties that regularly replace their wax brood combs.
In addition, they are much less likely to contract diseases due to shifts in the weather. They have no trouble enduring winter’s bitter cold or summer’s searing heat.
5. German Honey Bee
One of the more recently evolved subspecies of honey bees in Europe is called the Apis Mellifera Mellifera. In fact, they did not arrive on the scene until the Ice Age, which occurred approximately 2.4 million years ago.
On the other hand, research suggests that One can trace the ancestors of modern honey bees back more than one hundred million years!
These particular bees are easily identifiable by their short, stumpy bodies. In addition, Apis Mellifera Mellifera bees have a tinge of yellow in their coloring. They have either a pitch-black or a dark brown coloration on their body.
Sadly, these types of honey bees are not very common. And even if you did discover a swarm of them, you would have a terrible time keeping them under control because they are naturally highly aggressive.
6. Gibraltar Honey Bee
One of the most impressive aspects of this species is that Apis Mellifera Iberiensis has successfully maintained the integrity of their genetic lineage for millions of years.
In fact, they will not mate with any queen that does not possess the same genetic makeup as themselves.
It is crucial to keep in mind, however, that Apis Mellifera Iberiensis bees are renowned for their one-of-a-kind defensive strategy.
When their territory is under invasion, they dispatch a group of guard bees to the area to patrol it and attack anything they consider dangerous.
Therefore, you need to get ready in advance if you want to catch them in their natural habitat. If you do not protect yourself with the appropriate gear, you will wind up with a body full of bee stings and blisters rather than a colony full of bees.
7. Caucasian Honey Bee
The Apis Mellifera Caucasica bee species is a huge honeybee distinguished by the gray hair covering its complete body.
You’ll also observe that these honey bees tend to construct their hives out of sticky materials. This is due to the excessive amount of propolis they produced.
In general, however, the Apis Mellifera Caucasica is not a species we recommend to beginners. To begin, kids have a high risk of contracting illnesses.
You would have to check on them at least once a month to ensure they are not exhibiting any signs and symptoms of an illness to make sure they are healthy.
Second, they have quite aggressive nature. Even if you were to use a bee smoker, it would take a few minutes for these bees to calm down. This is especially true if they become agitated and feel threatened.
In conclusion, they are moderately sluggish in establishing their colony. The reproduction of bees and the production of honey require the expertise of a beekeeper with years of experience.
8. Giant honey bee
Honey bees native to South and Southeast Asia are of the species Apis dorsata, also known as the giant honey bee.
Even though beekeepers do not control this honey bee, several crop species in southern Asia depend on the wild Apis dorsata.
Cotton, mango, coconut, coffee, pepper, star fruit, and macadamia are some of the crops that fall into this category.
Nevertheless, no credible estimations are available regarding the actual financial contribution that Apis dorsata pollination makes2.
Apis dorsata and Apis mellifera have golden, black, and pale stripes on their abdomens, and both have hairy thoraces. Apis dorsata is a subspecies of Apis mellifera.
The open-air nests that the giant honey bee constructs typically hang from the limbs of trees, but you can also see them on buildings.
They construct a single, massive comb that can measure up to 150 centimeters in length and has a height of 70 centimeters.
In the image, you can see a typical nest like this one hanging from a branch and containing up to 100,000 worker bees.
Apis dorsata, a honey bee species, has a larger body size than other honey bees, which enables these bees to have a broader flight and foraging range.
Apis dorsata colonies are well known for their ferocious defense mechanisms if disturbed. The Giant honey bee is one of the most hazardous species found in Southeast Asia’s jungles.
It is the most defensive of all the several types of honey bees, even more so than the African honey bee.
9. Cavity Nesting Asian honey bee
Apis cerana, often known as the Asiatic honey bee or the eastern honey bee, is a honey bee indigenous to southern, southeastern, and eastern Asia regions.
Apis cerana colonies are not very large; typically, there are only 6,000 to 7,000 workers in each colony. As a point of perspective, colonies of Apis mellifera can grow to contain as many as 50,000 individuals.
Their size is comparable to or somewhat smaller than that of Apis mellifera, and they also have abdominal stripes that are more easily visible.
Apis cerana worker bees reach adulthood with a black body and four yellow stripes running along the abdomen.
Apis cerana inhabits regions with flora and climate suitable for its existence at elevations ranging from sea level to 3,500 meters.
This species of bee can endure harsh climatic circumstances and live through wide swings in temperature and extended periods of rainfall because of its adaptations.
It is exceptional in that it can withstand temperatures as low as -0.1 degrees Celsius, which is a temperature that would kill other kinds of bees (Apis mellifera).
When a giant hornet attack the hive (Vespa mandarinia), approximately 500 honey bees will swarm around the hornet and vibrate their flight muscles until the temperature reaches 47 °C (117 °F).
This will kill the hornet while keeping the temperature below the bees’ lethal limit, which is between 48 and 50 °C.
Because they form smaller colonies, the amount of honey these bees produce is lower than that of Apis mellifera. On the other hand, it is growing thanks to an initiative focusing on breeding and selecting queens.
10. Rock honey bees
The Himalayan giant honey bee, also known as Apis dorsata laboriosa, is the largest honey bee species in the world. The Himalayas are typically the sole habitat in which you can find them.
The length of these types of honey bees can reach up to 3.0 centimeters (1.2 inches). This honey bee has the highest body size of any worker bee.
The bodies of A. laboriosa worker bees have a brownish-black color, but the bodies of A. dorsata bees are a bronze tint.
The majority of the cliffs, according to the observations of the cliffs, are situated in extremely treacherous terrain because there is a good reason! Those sites are so remote that it is nearly impossible for people to go there.
Only these types of honey bees are capable of generating the well-known red honey. The intoxicating effect and other calming benefits of red honey diminish as the honey is stored for more extended periods of time.
Red honey’s reputed healing properties and intoxicating characteristics have made it a popular product. The presence of grayanotoxin in the nectar of white rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp), collected by bees to produce honey, is the source of these properties in the honey.
The Gurung people of Nepal are the ones who get the credit for developing the use of this mad honey, which is used both for its therapeutic and hallucinogenic effects.
11. Red Dwarf honey bees
The red dwarf honey bee is known scientifically as Apis florea. It gets its name from the fact that it is significantly smaller than other types of honey bees.
The body length of a worker is normally between 7 and 10 millimeters, and its overall hue is reddish-brown.
Older employees usually have a crimson patch on their lower bellies, and the hair covering their torso and legs is a light, whitish color. Younger worker bees, such as those found in giant honey bees, have a paler coloration.
When A. Florea detects potential threats in their environment, they activate highly specialized social defense systems.
For example, they frequently behave in a manner described as hissing and shimmering. In addition, they select nesting sites with thick vegetation so they may conceal themselves from any prospective enemies.
A fantastic example of a defense strategy, this behavior is a response to their primary adversary, the O. smaragdina weaver ant, and it is a beautiful example.
The bees will manufacture and deposit sticky barriers to hinder these ants’ path whenever they are close to them.
The guard bees will seek cover in this sticky zone and begin to signal other bees using special hissing sounds to stop full-scale raids carried out by the ants.
Over the course of time, additional bees join to contribute to the sticky zone barrier that bolsters the bees’ defensive capabilities.
Most of the time, its venom cannot penetrate human skin with a single sting. Consequently, people handle the hive and the swarms with very little protection.
12. Black Dwarf honey bees
The black dwarf honey bee is known scientifically as Apis andreniformis. This type of honey bee is the tiniest of all the others (between 6.5 mm and 9.5-10 mm).
It is an uncommon honey bee species found in the tropical and subtropical parts of Southeast Asia, which constitute its natural habitat.
Since researchers typically locate these types of honey bees at elevations lower than 1,000 meters, they consider them a lowland species.
During the wetter months, they could move to locations at higher elevations. In a similar vein, they do the majority of their nesting in tropical and subtropical areas.
You can distinguish these types of honey bees from other Apis species because of the dark black pigmentation of their bodies.
As a result, they have the darkest skin of all members in their genus. Its scutellum is yellow in color, whereas its abdomen’s first two abdominal segments are black.
According to studies, A. andreniformis might not be able to recognize its species or the other members of its nest.
The absence of queens in A. Florea colonies were the basis for this conclusion reached by the scientific community. The queens of A. andreniformis could integrate into a colony without being met with hostility during their initial arrival.
Honey, wax, royal jelly, and bee venom are some of the commercial items that humans produce with the assistance of this species. They play a significant role in pollination.
13. Koschevnikov’s honey bee
Because of its characteristic reddish metasoma and legs, Koschevnikov’s honey bee (Apis koschevnikovi) is also known as the “red bee of Sabah.”
On the Malay Peninsula and in Sumatra, Indonesia, the Apis koschevenikovi has a dark coloration, almost coppery.
The tropical evergreen forests of the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sumatra are the only places one may find it in the wild. The bodies of worker bees are around the size of your thumb (forewing length between 7.5–9 mm)