The commonly-encountered black bees include European dark bees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, ground bees, and western honey bees among others. While some of these bees are entirely black in color, others have black and yellow-striped bodies.
Bees are some of the most commonly seen flying insects. As per entomology, they are closely-related to other social insects, like ants and wasps. Bees are not only important as sources of honey and beeswax, but they play a crucial role in the overall functioning of the ecosystem. Bees, along with certain types of flying insects, are primary pollinating agents for nearly all types of flowers. In fact, they account for about 80 percent of insect pollination.
As of date, about 20,000 species of bees are identified scientifically under 7-9 families. Of the identified species, approximately 600 types of bees are social in behavior and live in colonies. In a single beehive, there may be 40-45,000 bees.
Types of Black Bees
Truly speaking, nearly all types of bees are dark in color. Most of them are gray, brown, or black, with or without stripes in the abdomen portion. However, you will also find bees of yellow, metallic-green, blue, or red colors.
European Dark Bees
Also known as German black bees, the European dark bees are domesticated on a wide scale. The characteristic features of these bees are a compact body, less hair on the abdomen, and thick hair growth in the thorax areas. The aggressive subspecies of these bees can be identified from the yellowish bands present on the sides of the abdomen.
A classic example of large black bees with yellow stripes is the bumble bee, a common plant pollinator distributed widely. If you notice black bees in the ground, most probably they are bumblebees. Though bumblebees are beneficial for agriculturists, they are aggressive and can sting repeatedly, especially when irritated.
These are not purely-black, but carpenter bees are bluish-black in color. The name is coined with reference to the specific attribute that these bees bore wood for making their nests. Classified as the solitary types, female carpenter bees are fertile and they build their own nests. These bees sting, but they do not pose a threat to any passerby.
Basically, ground bees are related to the yellow jackets and they resemble each other in their color pattern. However, these bees are much smaller in size and more aggressive than the yellow jackets. Having a body adorned with bright-yellow and black stripes, these bees build their nest underground, about 2 inches to 2 feet below the surface.
Western Honey Bees
Another type of black bees are the western honey bees, which store honey in the combs. They are small in size (about 1.3 cm in length), of which some have yellow and brown bands in the abdominal portion. Colonies of western honey bees are reared by beekeepers all across the globe for their beneficial products.
The aforementioned black bees vary in color (purely-black, black, and yellow-striped bees), size (small and large), feeding habits (feed on specific flower or many flowers) and overall behavior (social, semisocial, or solitary).
While handling any type of black bees in-house or in the garden, make sure you are equipped with protective gear, as bee stings are quite painful. Some of them even have the ability to sting many times, thus adding to skin irritation symptoms.