The average Joe on the street might be forgiven for thinking that there are two kinds of bee: honey and bumble. But bees come in many shapes and sizes and if you stand in the garden a while and watch them visiting the flowers you'll probably see plenty of different sorts, quite visibly varying. But what of the common honey bee? Which one is it? Well I'm pretty sure the one pictured above is a standard European honey bee. Personally I look at the abdomen, being uniformly segmented and with just a very fine hairiness. Some others look similar but are noticeably smaller and usually a bit hairier, being solitary bees that live in holes in the ground rather than in hives. I saw one going into the hole at the top of a bamboo cane in the garden just the other day, though it didn't come out again whilst I was watching.

Learn everything you everything wanted to know about the European honey bee on Wikipedia.

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