To best understand bees, one needs to know exactly what a bee is. The answer is, at the outset, simple, but there are complications.
at has resulted in furry bodies and pollen-collecting appendages, while the wasp's predatory lifestyle has led to long spiny legs and no need for extra hair.
A few groups of bees have given up collecting pollen and instead let other bees do the hard work for them. These 'cuckoo bees' lay eggs in the nest of another bee who does collect pollen. The cuckoo bee larvae destroy the 'host bee' larvae and then eat their pollen. Cuckoo bees tend to look more wasp-like as they have shed the hairy vestiture typical of pollen-collecting bees. Nonetheless, DNA analysis tell us that they share the same pollen-collecting wasp ancestor as other bees (they are in the same clade).
There are probably close to 30,000 species of bees around the world. 20,000 of them have been acknowledged by scientists, but many areas of the world have not been thoroughly sampled, and likely harbor species currently unknown to us. Contrary to popular belief, most bees don't live in hives. There is no queen. And they don't make honey. In fact, of those 20,000 known bees, only 7 are honey bee (Apis) species.
The majority of bee nests are in the ground, dug by bees who also collect pollen and nectar, and also lay eggs (functioning therefore as both queen and worker). The honey bee lifestyle we know so well is the exception rather than the rule for most bees.,, but we will delve into that later.
* Think of a clade as an exclusive branch of a family tree. All descendants of Grandma and Grandpa Smith, for example; Grandma's sister's kids would not be part of the Smith Clade.