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Bee Families

The more than 20,000 species of bees are assigned to the superfamily Apoidea, which includes eight families. The diversity of bees includes the yellow-faced, plasterer, oxaeid, andrenid, sweat, melittid, leafcutting, mason, cuckoo, digger, carpenter, bumble, and honey bees. The latter two are the most common and both belong to the family Apidae. Bees are characterized by the vein pattern on their wings and by the size of their tongues. Some have a short tongue and others a long, slender one. Bees are able to chew as well as suck with their mouthparts.

Bees mainly eat nectar and pollen, which they also store in their hives or nests for their larvae to eat. A segment of the rear legs of bees is enlarged and somewhat flattened and serves as a carrying device for the pollen they collect. Male bees have seven segments in the abdominal region, while females have only six. Hairlike setae densely cover the bodies of bees. Plants that bees pollinate include most fruits, numerous vegetables, and field crops like cotton, tobacco, and clover. While the bees that are most beneficial for commercial production of honey are social bees, many families of bees are solitary in nature. Bees are also diurnal, that is, they are active in the daytime.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ballistic galvanometer to Big–bang theoryBees - Bee Families, Solitary Bees, Social Bees, Honey Bees, Beekeeping, Killer Bees