The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is not native to Wisconsin and typically requires human managed hives to survive in our state. Nonetheless because of the abundance of beekeepers’ hives in Wisconsin, you can find honey bees foraging nearly everywhere.
This is the only bee species in Wisconsin that produces honey, but these industrious bees are also valued for the important pollination services they provide for our fruit and vegetable crops.
- Honey bees have a warm amber-brown color to their body.
- They have a striped abdomen and fewer hairs on their abdomens compared to bumble bees.
- If you look closely, you will see that honey bees have a more heart-shaped face compared to other bees.
Where they carry pollen
Bumble bees and honey bees carry pollen in tight pollen sacs (corbiculae) on their legs. If you’re wondering how to categorize the bee that you are observing, look at how it’s carrying pollen on its body. The honey bee in this photo has a white pollen basket on its leg, because the pollen it collected was from a species of flower that produces white pollen rather than yellow pollen.