I live in Massachusetts, in the Northeastern region of the United States.
As a lover of bees, I'd like to learn how to identify some varieties, including their behavior, and how they're raised. Major types of bee habitats include domestic, meaning hand-raised in hives by beekeepers, frequently in someone's yard; and wild (also called feral), being raised without human intervention, in the woods and other natural areas.
When I have bees eating in my yard, I'd like to know how to tell if they're being raised in a local hive, or if they live in the wild but are stopping by on their way someplace else? One reason I ask is, if they're being raised locally, I'd like to try to find the beekeeper!
This question was inspired by a different question about the possible effect of bees on hummingbirds at the hummingbird feeders in my yard.
These are the bees to which I was referring.
A former beekeeper, 243DRob, posted a comment, in part:
Those are domesticated honey bees. They came from a local hive within 3 miles of your home. The bees will use your "nectar" to make honey. If their hive is owned by a beekeeper (most likely), then your "nectar" will end up in the honey they sell.
I was fascinated to learn that. Obviously, as a beekeeper, a quick look at a picture was all he needed to make the identification. As a layperson, can I learn to do it without much difficulty?
What obvious things should I look for? What about size; shape; color; how they interact with each other or birds; which flowers they like; which type of hummingbird nectar or feeder; the time of the day; the month or season; the presence or absence of other pollinators; or some other variable I haven't mentioned?
I'm hoping that depth of knowledge isn't necessary for this question.