The most interesting bees in the world.

Celebrate World Bee Day with these unique bee species from all over the globe.

Conall Rubin-Thomas | Adobe Stock
Conall Rubin-Thomas
Conall Rubin-Thomas

Former Digital Campaign Associate, Environment America

More than 4,000 bee species live in the United States, but did you know there are more than 16,000 other species found across the globe? Some are quite unique, from bees that nest in rock to a bee as big as your thumb. So in the spirit of World Bee Day, here are 10 of the coolest, strangest and most interesting bees on Earth:

Rock Honey Bee

gancw1 | CC-BY-4.0

Living in the Himalayas, this is the largest honey bee species at 1.2 inches long, the size of a paper clip. These bees use nectar from white rhododendrons to make “mad honey”, which is red and can cause hallucinations and paralysis in people. Some cultures use it as medicine.

Red Dwarf Honey Bee

svetlanakhanty | Public Domain

This southern Asian species makes a hissing sound when it feels threatened or senses a predator nearby. Produced through small wing movements, the bee’s hiss is repeated by others around until it alerts the whole colony to danger.

Anthophora pueblo

MC Orr | Used by permission

Discovered in Utah in 2016, the species is named for the Pueblo people of the southwestern United States who built their homes from sandstone. These bees use water to drill into rock and make their nests, and the sturdy material keeps out parasites and microbes. 

Domino Cuckoo Bee

peter_waters | Adobe Stock

Not only does this Australian bee have a striking appearance of white spots on its black body, but it also copies the nesting behavior of cuckoo birds. Instead of building their own nests, these bees lay their eggs in the nests of other bees.

Perdita Minima Bee

John Ascher | Used by permission

True to its name, this North American species is tiny: only 2 millimeters long. Yet despite their size, these bees can carry large amounts of pollen on their hairy legs.

Wallace’s Giant Bee

Simon Robson | Used by permission

This Indonesian bee is as big as an adult human’s thumb, about four times the size of an average honeybee. The species was thought extinct for 38 years until being rediscovered in 2019.

Black Dwarf Honey Bee 

anukma | CC-BY-4.0

A dark colored bee from Southeast Asia, scientific studies discovered they might not be able to recognize their own species or other individuals in a nest. Black dwarf bees are also the smallest honey bee species, measuring between 6.5-10 millimeters long.

Leafcutter Bee

bradenjudson | Public Domain

Ranging from North to South America, these bees use their jaws like scissors to cut off small pieces of plants they bring back to their nests. The pieces are used to help store eggs in small cracks and hollow stems.

Plasterer Bee

André LABETAA | Adobe Stock

These bees line the walls of their nests with a waterproof, fungus-resistant substance. They use their forked tongue to apply the material, which is produced from a gland in the abdomen. Plasterer bees are found in North and South America, Africa and Europe.

Long-horned Bee

John Baker | CC-BY-2.0

Males of this North American species have extra-long antennae, giving them a horned appearance. The antennae are so long, they can stretch past the bee’s waist to the abdomen.


We depend on Earth’s immense bee diversity to help feed us, create healthy environments and give the world so much of its beauty. Unfortunately, threats such as climate change, habitat loss and pesticides put bees’ homes, health and future at serious risk. 

We’re working hard to save our precious pollinators, and you can support our efforts by donating or purchasing a bee-friendly garden kit. With your help, we can protect these fuzzy little insects here, there and everywhere.

Purchase a bee-friendly garden kit!

Want to save bees in your garden?

Purchase a bee-friendly garden kit!

Make your garden a welcoming habitat for your neighborhood bees with this lovely, all-zones appropriate bee-friendly garden kit. A great way to let everyone know that you avoid pesticides and grow flowering plants to support our hard-working pollinators!

Buy here

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Conall Rubin-Thomas

Former Digital Campaign Associate, Environment America

Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America

Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.

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