Apidae is the largest family within the superfamily Apoidea, containing at least 5700 species of bees. The family includes some of the most commonly seen bees, including bumblebees and honey bees, but also includes stingless bees (also used for honey production), carpenter bees, orchid bees, cuckoo bees, and a number of other less widely known groups. Many are valuable pollinators in natural habitats and for agricultural crops.
|Xylocopa micans (a carpenter bee), on a Vitex species flower|
In addition to its historical classification (honey bees, bumble bees, stingless bees and orchid bees), the family Apidae presently includes all the genera formerly placed in the families Anthophoridae and Ctenoplectridae. Although the most visible members of Apidae are social, the vast majority of apid bees are solitary, including a number of cleptoparasitic species.
The old family Apidae contained four tribes (Apinae: Apini, Euglossini and Bombinae: Bombini, Meliponini) which have been reclassified as tribes of the subfamily Apinae, along with all of the former tribes and subfamilies of Anthophoridae and the former family Ctenoplectridae, which was demoted to tribe status. The trend to move groups down in taxonomic rank has been taken further by a 2005 Brazilian classification that places all existing bee families together under the name "Apidae", but it has not been widely accepted in the literature since that time.
The subfamily Apinae contains honey bees, bumblebees, stingless bees, orchid bees, and digger bees, among others. The bees of most tribes placed in Apinae are solitary with nests that are simple burrows in the soil. However, honey bees, stingless bees, and bumblebees are eusocial or colonial. These are sometimes believed to have each developed this trait independently, and show notable differences in such characteristics as communication between workers and methods of nest construction.
- Emphorini—(Subtribe Ancyloscelidina; Subtribe Emphorina)
- Epeolini—(Subtribe Epeolina; Subtribe Odyneropsina; Subtribe Thalestriina)
Most members of this subfamily make nests in plant stems or wood.
- Danforth, Bryan N.; Cardinal, Sophie; Praz, Christophe; Almeida, Eduardo A.B.; Michez, Denis (2013). "The Impact of Molecular Data on Our Understanding of Bee Phylogeny and Evolution". Annual Review of Entomology. 58 (1): 57–78. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120811-153633. ISSN 0066-4170. PMID 22934982.
- BugGuide.Net: the Family Apidae (of bees) . accessed 6.23.2013
- [Michener, Charles D. (2007) The bees of the world. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, Londres.]
- [O'Toole, Christopher, Raw, Anthony (1999) Bees of the world. Cassell Illustrated. ISBN 0-8160-5712-5]
- Gonçalves, Rodrigo B. (2005). "Higher-level bee classifications (Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Apidae sensu lato)". Melo, Gabriel AR, And"Revista Brasileira de Zoologia. 22 (1): 153–159.
- Engel, M. S.; Alqarni, A. S.; Shebl, M. A. (2017). "Discovery of the bee tribe Tarsaliini in Arabia (Hymenoptera: Apidae), with the description of a new species". American Museum Novitates. 3877 (3877): 1–28. doi:10.1206/3877.1. hdl:2246/6703.
- Arnett, R. H., Jr. (2000). "Ch. 25: Hymenoptera (Wasps, Ants, and Bees)". American insects (2nd ed.). CRC Press. pp. 531–614. ISBN 978-0-8493-0212-1.
- Borror, D. J.; DeLong, D. M.; Triplehorn, C. A. (1976). An introduction to the study of insects (4th ed.). Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 978-0-03-088406-1.
- Mitchell, T. B. (1962). Bees of the Eastern United States. 2. North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station. Tech. Bul. No. 152.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Apidae.|
|Wikispecies has information related to Apidae|