Bees are precious. They're a vital part of our ecosystem, they're almost the sole reason we have food to eat, and they're outright adorable little creatures. On top of all that, almost all bee species are pacifists and will only sting you if aggravated or if stepped on, and even then most can only sting once. While some people are allergic to bees and therefore rightfully a little unnerved by them, most of us can agree that they're absolute little angels, and are always welcome near us. So, I decided to look at some of the most common types of bees and rank them by their cute factors!
10. Sweat Bees
Okay, I know I said a lot of good about bees, and I meant it, but not every species is perfect and sweat bees are an example of that. Let's face it, these girls--and their imitators, the hoverfly--are annoying.
They're still very important parts of the ecosystem, as they're both great pollinators, but the sweat bee's obsession with licking human sweat is at least a little creepy and at most fear-instilling as they constantly surround you trying to get a little taste in the middle of their missions. For that reason, sweat bees are at the bottom of my list because their adorable level of tiny can't counteract their general creepy obsession. Sorry, sweat bees.
9. Leafcutter Bees
Leafcutter bees are cool, but they aren't really that cute. This isn't to say things can't be both, it's just an observation on many things about them that differ from what generally makes bees adorable. If bees were rated by their traits, leafcutters have many more on the efficiency and creepily-buglike scales than on the cute one.
Leafcutters are cool bees, they're streamlined, they're black and white instead of black and yellow, and they chew up leaves in order to build doors to their habitats. But they look a little evil because in order to chew through the leaves, they need these massive jaws, which on most bugs means you need to be scared they're going to bite you. Of course, being a bee, the leafcutter's sting is their weapon and you probably won't ever meet it.
But it's still uncanny. You're awesome, leafcutter, but this isn't a list of the most awesome bees, it's a list of the cutest ones. Better luck next time.
8. Mason Bees
From here on out, now that my negative review of sweat bees and my review of leafcutter bees' coolness are out of the way, the rest of these reviews are gonna be pretty superficial, which is why Mason Bees land at number 8. Mason bees are pretty cute, and their carapace comes in many different shimmery colors, but they burrow inside hollowed-out twigs and stumps caked with mud and they fly super fast which means until they're pollinating, it's easy to mistake them for any animal besides a bee. Also, rather than having thick little baskets of pollen in their legs, they just kind of have it cake all along their underside, as seen in the above photo, which isn't as cute as their counterparts.
They get a bonus for not being able to sting humans though, so those with bee allergies need not worry! They're great bees, though, and one of a few species that you can build cheap homes for, so long as parts of your property can get muddy enough for them.
7. Digger Bee
Next, we have these little loves, the Digger bee. Digger bees, again living up to their name, tend to nest underground. This is where they lose most of their cute points, as they are one of the types of bees most likely to be considered pests. Of course, just like most common pests, you can simply build (or in this case drill) homes for them, but they can still get in your way. Probably the easiest bee to accidentally step on or accidentally enrage, digger bees' choice of residency is what has knocked these fat lil buddies so far down this list.
6. German Black Bee
Also known as the European Dark Bee, these bees are one of my favorites, they're basically the common honey bee's broodier cousin. Almost every trait about them is identical to the Western Honey Bee's, except these bees are native to Germany, they're dark black with dull yellow hairs, and they're a little bit larger. A great bee through and through, but there's nothing altogether that special about them.
5. Blueberry Bee
I'll give you three guesses as to what plant is this bee's favorite. Originally found hovering around wild blueberry plants, as humans have bred blueberries into their larger, plumper, more abundant modern form, so too have these bees naturally evolved to be larger, plumper, and more abundant. Able to fit perfectly into blueberry bushes' bell-shaped flowers, these bees would be the apex predator of the blueberry food chain if they weren't vegetarian pollinators and if said food chain wasn't made up by me just now. These bees get some bonus points for fatness, innovation, and loyalty. Bravo, blueberry bee!
4. Carpenter Bee
Okay, this is the part where you call me a hypocrite, but it's my list and I do what I want. You see, I docked the leafcutter bee for its big jaw and the digger bee for being a best and yet here I am fawning over the carpenter bee. Why? Because carpenter bees are soft, big, bumbling buffoons. They drill into wood and nest in trees usually, as a solitary bee usually, and therefore parts of your house may be at risk, but they are easy to make homes for and if you have trees in your vicinity, they'll prefer those to the hard, treated wood of your home anyway. Carpenter bees are huge as far as bees go and can look intimidating with their large wood-chewing jaw, their large, slow, movement, their dark carapaces, and their naked abdomen, but if you've ever encountered a carpenter bee you know that in the daylight these suckers are practically blind and move mostly by sense of feel. These bees are much more likely to land on you or bump into you on accident than they are to ever sting you and that, plus their status as absolute units, makes them pretty damn cute if you ask me.
3. Western Honeybee
One of the most precious and recognizable matriarchies in the world is that of the Western Honeybee. These absolutely wonderful little worker ladies are the most valuable natural pollinator in the world, and the only widely-domesticated variation of bee. I can't not put the adorably fuzzy, farm-worthy little honey makers high up on this list. Honey bees are amazing, they are tough and resilient, and they are one of the only animals in this world that humans have adapted to rather than vice versa.
These little women have made mankind cater to them and that's exactly as it should be, we have created ways to build them homes, ways to help their populations, and even ways to keep them happy and hard-working as we harvest their bounty in safe and cruelty-free ways. Plus, they have an impact beyond belief, with Mr. Barry B.
Benson from The Bee Movie's help, of being as frequently meme'd as they are genuinely appreciated. I love the duality of these little buggers.
2. Squash Bee
Much like the plump little blueberry bees, the squash bee is a flower specialist, in this case one that specializes in the flowers of many squashes. And, just like the blueberry bee, as we have bred squashes, these bees too have evolved. What sets them so far above the blueberry bee, though, is that the squash bee is bigger, fuzzier, and plumper than the blueberry bee, and we all know the three things that makes bees most cute is their large, fuzzy, plumpness emulating every cuddly thing we know. Plus, I hate blueberries and love squash, so sue me.
1. Bumble Bee
And finally here we are. The grand winner of the cuteness debate. The piece de resistance. The queen of all queens. The fuzziest, plumpest, largest bee out there, the bumblebee. These ladies are named bumble bees, because of the same reason most other bees are named, their bumbliness is their most prominent feature. If we love clumsy puppies and kittens then we must too love clumsy bees. Therefore the bumble bee checks all of the appropriate boxes for their cuteness meter to absolutely break all fathomable limits and make humans emit a childlike "SQUEEE". These all add up to make bumblebees just win everything.
So there you have it folks, my definitive, wildly opinionated list of the common bees rated in order of cuteness. If you like bee content, and you love the bees, consider sharing this article to make more people fall in love with bees, and also consider donating to my favorite bee charities and organizations!