Finally, someone (me) has gone through and ranked the aesthetics of the world’s honey bees!
Black dwarf honey bee (Apis andreniformis)
She is an elegant looking bee, clad all in black with saucy yellow highlights. Her solid, utilitarian looking antennae complement but don’t distract. Just fuzzy enough to be nonthreatening, but not so fuzzy that she won’t be taken seriously. Plus, just look at those lush, opalescent wings!
Asiatic honey bee (Apis cerana)
Dashing yellow and black stripes, a quintessential bee color scheme. Delicate, narrow wings that contribute strikingly to the overall appearance, with an bespoke taper in the end of her abdomen.
Giant honey bee (Apis dorsata)
This bee is large and in charge. The unapologetically bombastic abdomen is decorated by a dainty set of wings and a unique yellow-to-black color gradient that screams “look at me, I’m a bee!”.
Dwarf honey bee (Apis florea)
We go to the opposite end of the size spectrum with this firecracker of a bee. She has a deliciously daring color scheme – monochrome save for the vivid amber patch on her back. Beautiful and understated.
Koschevnikov’s honey bee (Apis koschevnikovi)
This is a wild, warrior princess of a bee. The stout, formidable legs and thick abdomen cut an imposing figure. Her tawny fuzz sits rakishly about her thorax like a bear pelt, saying “I may be named after some old Russian guy, but nobody owns me!”.
Himalayan giant honey bee (Apis laboriosa)
This bee is the picture of duality, delicately poised on a flower. Her spherical thorax juxtaposed with her oblong abdomen, with a color scheme to match creates a beautiful exclamation point of balance and harmony.
Western honey bee (Apis mellifera)
Here she is, the original dame of the apiary. Her compact thorax to abdomen ratio and prominent fuzziness create a friendly, welcoming appearance. The black and yellow stripes come together in the timeless and immediately recognizable image of a bee.
Philippine honey bee (Apis nigrocinta)
This bee actually has no photo on Wikipedia, which I can only assume is due to privacy concerns. I respect that – exotic and mysterious.
They’re all good bees.