The Apidae family comprise of four subfamilies, Euglossinae, Bombinae, Meliponinae and Apinae. It is cosmopolitan and to date about 1000 species have been described.
The Euglossinae (orchid bees) are from the Neo-tropics, members are generally solitary. The family is not recorded from Hong Kong.
The Bombinae (bumble bees) are primarily form the Holartic region and very abundant in cool regions. Hong Kong possesses one species that is seen in the cooler times of the day and/or year. Colonies are annually established each spring by over-wintering queens working alone.
The Meliponinae (stingless honey bees) are pantropical in distribution. Members form colonies in tree cavities, in soil or in exposed nests, depending on the species. The colony is perennial and reproduces by sending out workers to make a new nest joined later by a young queen.
Apinae contains the familiar highly socially complex honey bees (Apis). Apinae colonies are founded by swarming, the old queen leaving the nest with a retinue of workers. Several species are represented in Hong Kong.
Click on the thumbnails below for larger images and biology for each species illustrated.
BUGS FOR THE AMATEUR