Honey Bees vs. Native Bees

Honeybees are the most widely identifiable bee, however there are over 400 species of bees in Minnesota alone. Many of the other bees we are familiar with are the big and noisy bumble bees. These are some of our most visible native bees, but it can be easy to see many others when you learn what to look for. Smaller native bees like Mason bees, Leafcutter and Carpenter bees are often visible before honeybees are out foraging in the early spring. The native bee species are also out earlier in the day as they are typically more adapted to the cooler weather. Honeybees like it to be ~ 50F and sunny before they venture out to forage.

Leafcutter bees leave signs of their presence by “cutting” or chewing round holes in foliage early in the spring. Check out these great visuals to learn to identify other kinds of bees.


Picture 1: Bumble bees and honey bee on sunflower

Picture 2: Two spotted bumble bee on chive flower

Picture 3: Mason Bee on Siberian squill

Picture 4: Leafcutter Bee holes on Cup plant


Guide to MN Bumble Bees