The native bee quiz returns

The Native Bee Quiz first appeared here in late 2013. A few people have asked me to re-run it, so here it is. The only difference from the original is the quiz software, which allows you to see your score at the end.

Although native bees are fascinating, I always learn something about honey bees when I compare and contrast the many types of bees and their lifestyles. Honey bees are quite unusual in the bee world, and seeing how they are different from other bees—and how they are the same—tells us a lot about how they have adapted to life in a colony and how they evolved into a superorganism.

So give it a try: take the Native Bee Quiz! Just answer all the questions and then click “Submit” at the end. Your score and a short explanation of each question will appear like magic.

Honey Bee Suite

Native Bees

How many species of bees live on Earth?
Most species of bees live where?
Most female bees can sting how many times?
Male bees can sting how many times?
In which of the following ways are bees and wasps different?
Compared to humans, bees see which type of light?
Bees and dinosaurs shared the planet for about how many years?
Most bees spend the majority of their lives ...
To attract a variety of bees to your garden . . .
Genetic information is carried in the chromosomes of all animals. In bees  . . .
All bees have 4 wings, 6 legs, 5 eyes, and one stinger.
What percentage of the world's bee species make honey?
Although we often hear about the complex society within a honey bee colony, about 90 percent of bee species are solitary, meaning each female cares for her nest alone.
Most female bees have a total of 12 segments in each antenna. How many segments does a male bee have in each antenna?
Although the idea of stingless honey bees sounds appealing, stingless honey bees _____.
All female bees carry pollen to feed their young.
Some female bees carry pollen by swallowing it and regurgitating it later.
Bees and wasps don't always agree on what's for dinner. Why?
Unlike honey bees, many bees forage on just one species of plant or on a small group of related plants. This makes them especially vulnerable to:
In most bee species, the males mate only once but the females mate many times.
Photo below the Native Bee Quiz. An Andrena bee rests in the leaf litter of the forest. From a distance, some of the native bees can be confused with honey bees.

An Andrena bee rests in the leaf litter of the forest. From a distance, some of the native bees can be confused with honey bees. © Rusty Burlew.


  • I think your answer to 90% of solitary bees rear alone is incorrect as “True”, and should be “False”, because of Eusocial solitary bees. Whilst many solitary bees rear alone, there is a lot of nest sharing and other social dynamics between solitary bees at times, thus the correct answer with the way you worded the question cannot be “True”, but only “False” (as long as even one solitary bee does nest sharing it has to be “True” as worded).

    • Chris,

      Your phrase “eusocial solitary bees” is an oxymoron because eusocial and solitary are exact opposites. There is no such thing as “eusocial solitary.” Eusocial means completely or perfectly social. The group includes the honey bees, bumble bees, a few isolated sweat bees, and stingless bees where there is a division of labor between castes. There are lesser degrees of sociality, including communal (who share a nest entrance) and semi-social (bees that cooperate within the nest to get things done).

      Bees that live in large aggregations are generally not considered social because, although the nests are close together, each one is handled separately, much like living in a housing development. Remember that even if 90% of bees are solitary, that leaves 10% (2000 species) that are not solitary. That is still a lot.

      So far, 91.7% of respondents got this question right. It might help to re-read the definition of eusocial. My answers stands as is.

  • Loved the quiz! Since learning your tip to distinguish bee from fly by antenna length, I’ve been noticing so many native bees in our garden. What variety! Such fun!

    • Sarah,

      It is fun, and I’m still sometimes surprised to discover what is a bee and what is a fly. You learn so much when you look!

  • 70%. Yeah! I would not have had that if I had not already learned so much from your site, Rusty. Thanks so much for making learning fun.

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