Beekeeping Wiki
'Xylocopa micans (a carpenter bee), on a Vitex species flower
Scientific classification
Type genus

Honey bees, bumblebees, stingless bees, orchid bees and others

  • Nomadinae

Cuckoo bees

  • Xylocopinae

Carpenter bees

The Apidae are a large family of bees, comprising the common honey bees, stingless bees (also used for honey production), carpenter bees, orchid bees, cuckoo bees, bumblebees, and various other less well-known tribes and groups. [1] Many are valuable pollinators in natural habitats and for agricultural crops. [2]


The family Apidae presently includes all the genera previously classified in the families Anthophoridae and Ctenoplectridae. Most of these are solitary species, though a few are also cleptoparasites. [3]

The four groups that were subfamilies in the old family Apidae are presently ranked as tribes within the subfamily Apinae. This trend has been taken to its extreme in a few recent classifications that place all the existing bee families together under the name "Apidae" (or, alternatively, the non-Linnaean clade "Anthophila"), but this is not a widely accepted practice.


File:Blue banded bee02.jpg

Amegilla cingulata—a subfamily Apinae digger bee species, of Australian blue banded bees, approaching tomato flower


The subfamily Apinae contains a diversity of 15 tribe lineages, the majority of which are solitary and whose nests are simple burrows in the soil.

However, honey bees, stingless bees, and bumblebees are eusocial or colonial. They are sometimes believed to have each developed this independently, and show notable differences in such characteristics as communication between workers and methods of nest construction.

Tribes include:[1]

  • Anthophorini
  • Apini
  • Bombini
  • Centridini
  • Emphorini—(Subtribe Ancyloscelidina; Subtribe Emphorina)
  • Ericrocidini
  • Eucerini
  • Euglossini
  • Exomalopsini
  • Melectini
  • Meliponini
  • Osirini
  • Protepeolini



Subfamily Nomadinae cuckoo bee species, on flower.

The subfamily Nomadinae, or cuckoo bees, has 31 genera in 10 tribes which are all cleptoparasites in the nests of other bees.

Tribes include:[1]

  • Ammobatini
  • Ammobatoidini
  • Biastini
  • Brachynomadini
  • Epeolini—(Subtribe Epeolina; Subtribe Odyneropsina; Subtribe Thalestriina)
  • Hexepeolini
  • Neolarrini
  • Nomadini
  • Townsendiellini


File:Bee September 2007-6.jpg

Xylocopa violacea—a subfamily Xylocopinae carpenter bee, on flower.

The subfamily Xylocopinae, which includes carpenter bees, are mostly solitary, though they tend to be gregarious. Some tribe lineages, such as the Allodapini, contain eusocial species.

Most members of this subfamily make nests in plant stems or wood.

Tribes include:[1]

  • Allodapini
  • Ceratinini
  • Manueliini
  • Xylocopini

See also[]

  • Bee (mythology)
  • List of crop plants pollinated by bees


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 BugGuide.Net: the Family Apidae (of bees) . accessed 6.23.2013
  2. [Michener, Charles D. (2000) The bees of the world. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, Londres. ISBN 0-8018-6133-0]
  3. [O'Toole, Christopher, Raw, Anthony (1999) Bees of the world. Cassell Illustrated. ISBN 0-8160-5712-5]
  • Arnett, R. H. Jr. (2000) Segunda edición. American insects. CRC Press, Boca Ratón, Londres, New York, Washington, D. C. ISBN 0-8493-0212-9
  • Borror, D. J., DeLong, D. M., Triplehorn, C. A.(1976) cuarta edición. An introduction to the study of insects. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. New York, Chicago. ISBN 0-03-088406-3
  • Mitchell, T.B. (1962). Bees of the Eastern United States, Volumen II. North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station. Tech. Bul. No.152, 557 p.

External links[]

Template:Commons category Template:Wikispecies

Template:Hymenoptera This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).