Michigan is home to a diverse range of bee species, each playing an important role in various ecosystems. According to Michigan State University, there are around 465 bee species in Michigan.
Bees are essential pollinators for fruit and vegetable crops, and their populations increase as the weather gets warmer. In this article, we will discuss the types of bees found in Michigan and where they swarm.
Knowing this information can help you identify the bees in your area and take appropriate action if you encounter a swarm.
10 Types Of Bees Found In Michigan And Where They Swarm
Bumblebees are an important species of bees found in Michigan. According to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, Michigan is known to have 19 species of bumblebees within its borders. However, multiple species of bumblebees are in decline across Michigan, prompting appropriate conservation actions at the state and federal level.
The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) developed the Michigan Bumble Bee Inventory (MBBI) to track populations and fill in the data gap for the two types of bumblebees in Michigan.
Some of the common types of bumblebees found in Michigan include the American bumblebee, rusty patched bumblebee, black and gold bumblebee, northern amber bumblebee, and rusty-patched bumblebee.
Honey bees are another important species of bees found in Michigan. Honey bees are our primary managed pollinator and are native to Europe. They are important for pollinating crops and producing honey.
According to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, there are around 19 species of honey bees in Michigan. Honey bees are social insects that live in colonies, with each colony consisting of a queen, drones, and worker bees.
The queen is responsible for laying eggs, while the worker bees are responsible for collecting nectar and pollen, caring for the young, and protecting the hive. If you are interested in beekeeping, there are packaged bees for sale in Michigan.
Long-horned bees, scientifically known as Melissodes species, are medium-sized solitary bees found in Michigan. They are named for their long antennae, which make them look rather cute.
Long-horned bees mostly visit composite flowers in summer. Females of this species build nests in the ground, where they lay their eggs and provide food for their young.
Males, on the other hand, are known to be territorial and will defend their territory against other males. Long-horned bees are important pollinators for many plants, including sunflowers, asters, and goldenrods.
Cuckoo bees are a type of bee found in Michigan. They are known for their parasitic behavior, where female cuckoo bees enter another species’ nest and change the host’s behavior to raise their own young.
Cuckoo bees are primarily red or yellow with some white markings. They are the most wasp-like of all bee groups in Michigan. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cuckoo bees are primarily red or yellow with some white markings. The genus Nomada is the most common type of cuckoo bee found in Michigan.
Green sweat bees
Green sweat bees are a type of bee found in Michigan. They are called “sweat bees” because they are attracted to the salt found in human sweat. There are about 1,000 species of green sweat bees, and they are among the most common bees wherever bees are found.
Green sweat bees are small, with a bright metallic green coloring that makes them stand out. They are generalists and will forage on a wide variety of plants. Some of the species of green sweat bees found in Michigan include:
– Agapostemon: Agapostemon is a common group of Western Hemisphere sweat bees that are generally green or blue, especially the head and thorax. Sometimes the abdomen in females is green or blue, although it may be striped, and most males have the yellow-striped abdomen on a black or metallic background.
– Augochlora pura: Augochlora pura is a solitary sweat bee that prefers woodland areas and builds nests under bark in rotting trees. They cobble their nests together using bits of dirt and debris found under the bark.
– Augochlorella aurata: Augochlorella aurata is the smallest of the three species of the tribe Augochlorini found in Michigan. These tiny bees are usually green, ranging from pale-green to yellow-green to coppery-green. Male Augochlorella aurata show particularly great variation in color, and sometimes appear with a reddish or pink sheen.
– Augochloropsis metallica: Augochloropsis metallica has a shiny, metallic-green appearance and is about one-third of an inch in length. Their tongue is short, so they visit mainly flowers that are open and flat, as opposed to tube-shaped. Like all bees, they have a thick body with the division between the thorax and abdomen easily seen, four wings, hairs, stocky legs, long antennae, and eyes on the side of the head.
Green sweat bees are solitary bees that nest in the ground or in wood. They emerge in mid-spring and will forage throughout the summer. Some are semi-social or communal, while others are solitary.
Masked bees are a type of bee found in Michigan. They are small, wasp-like bees that belong to the bee family Colletidae. Masked bees are called “masked” because of the small yellow diamond-shaped markings on their faces. They are easy to recognize because of their smooth, almost hairless bodies, which make them look rather like wasps.
Masked bees are solitary bees that nest in small stems. Females carry pollen back to the nest internally. Many species of masked bees are slender and less than 10 mm long.
Masked bees collect pollen and nectar from a wide variety of flower types instead of relying solely on one or two types of flowers, which benefits nature. Masked bees are more abundant and diverse native bees in Michigan.
Cellophane bees are a type of bee found in Michigan. They are also known as plasterer bees, cellophane bees, or polyester bees. Cellophane bees belong to the bee family Colletidae and are short-tongued, primitive bees. They are called “cellophane bees” because they line the cells of their nests with a waterproof material that resembles clear plastic when dry.
This material is produced from secretions from the Dufour’s gland and mixed with saliva. The bees use their short fork-like tongues to paint the interior of their tunnels with this cellophane-like material.
The bees’ bio-derived plastic has inspired some scientists to study this substance as a natural alternative to plastic. Cellophane bees are solitary bees that nest in the ground. They are generalist pollinators that visit a variety of early spring blooming flowers like pussy willows, red maple, and other early spring flowers.
Some of the species of cellophane bees found in Michigan include Colletes inaequalis, Colletes thoracicus, and Colletes compactus simulans.
Mason bees are a type of bee found in Michigan. They are solitary bees that nest in pre-existing cavities in fallen trees, stumps, old stems, or manmade materials. Mason bees are early foraging cavity-nesters that live their adult lives almost entirely in spring. They are important pollinators for orchard crops and occur mostly in spring.
According to a study, a single mason bee can pollinate just as well as 120 honeybees. Managed Osmia pollinators are used for fruit or vegetable pollination.
Leaf-cutter bees are another type of bee that cut or masticate leaf pieces in the construction of their nests and nest in cavities or in the ground. Carpenter bees are also found in Michigan. They are solitary bees that nest in wood.
Leaf-cutter bees are a type of bee found in Michigan. They are solitary bees that nest in pre-existing cavities in fallen trees, stumps, old stems, or manmade materials.
Leaf-cutter bees are named for their habit of cutting or masticating leaf pieces in the construction of their nests. They use these leaf pieces to line their nests, which are usually in the ground.
Leaf-cutter bees are active in the summertime, like honey and bumble bees. They are also extremely gentle, so there is no need to worry about them stinging.
Leaf-cutter bees are important pollinators for many plants, including alfalfa, blueberries, and onions. They are also used as managed pollinators for orchard crops. To attract and build up their numbers in an area, you can provide nesting materials like paper tubes.
Augochlorella and Augochlora bees
Augochlorella and Augochlora bees are two types of green sweat bees found in Michigan. They belong to the bee family Halictidae and are part of the tribe Augochlorini.
Bees in this tribe are brilliantly colored, usually ranging from reddish to gold to bluish-green. Augochlorella bees are very small sweat bees that are easily confused with the related genus Augochlora but differentiated by the pointed tip of the marginal cell (squared off in Augochlora), an orthogonal epistomal sulcus, and no strong basal lobe on the inner metatibial spur.
These features can only be viewed under a microscope. Augochlora bees are the most common type of metallic, copper-green bees in Michigan, and they are difficult to distinguish from each other.
Some of the species of Augochlorella and Augochlora bees found in Michigan include Augochlorella aurata, Augochlora pura, and Augochloropsis metallica. These bees are generalist pollinators that visit a variety of flowers. They are solitary bees that nest in soil or in rotted wood.
1. What are the most common types of bees found in Michigan?
The most common types of bees found in Michigan include honey bees, bumblebees, long-horned bees, cuckoo bees, green sweat bees, masked bees, cellophane bees, mason bees, leaf-cutter bees, and Augochlorella and Augochlora bees.
2. What is the difference between honey bees and bumblebees?
Honey bees are our primary managed pollinator and are native to Europe. They are important for pollinating crops and producing honey. Bumblebees, on the other hand, are essential pollinators for fruit and vegetable crops. They do not produce honey, but they feed on nectar and pollen.
3. Where do bees swarm in Michigan?
Bees can swarm in various locations, including trees, bushes, and buildings. However, the specific location of a swarm can be unpredictable and can change quickly. If you encounter a swarm of bees, it is best to contact a local beekeeper or pest control professional for assistance.
4. What are some ways to attract bees to your garden?
To attract bees to your garden, you can plant a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season. You can also provide nesting materials like paper tubes for solitary bees like leaf-cutter bees.
5. Are bees dangerous?
Bees are generally not dangerous unless they feel threatened. If you encounter a bee, it is best to remain calm and avoid swatting at it. If you are allergic to bee stings, it is important to carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.