Start here to identify an unknown bee.

This guide has not been updated recently, and thus may contain outdated information. New, semi-automated species accounts are being developed that will soon replace those found here. 

Step one – Photograph your bee. If possible, sharp photographs from multiple angles make this guide much easier to use. If you can’t get decent photo, this guide can still be used in conjunction with a mental image, and will provide suggestions of important features to look for on future bees. Here are a few tips for photographing bees.

Step two – Is it a bee? Click here for tips on separating bees from the many different look-a-likes. This can be much harder than expected.

Step three – Use the four images below (click to enlarge) to familiarize yourself with terminology and morphology important for identification. Many of these will be used throughout this guide. Additional features are explained on subsequent pages where necessary.

Step four – Pick the group below that looks closest to the bee in question. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit perfectly, we have included several genera in multiple categories.

Disclaimer – Some of the information we present is incomplete or experimental. We’ll be constantly improving and expanding it – please let us know if you find errors or something confusing; .