A centralised taxonomic facility groundwork for the identification of European wild bees


Create a centralised database of all of the 2,000 bee species known from Europe.

Online factsheets

Produce an innovative online catalogue of bee traits and taxonomic information.


Present the overall ORBIT strategy and obtain feedback helpful to organise the project.

Bee diversity in Europe

Bees exist in much greater numbers and greater diversity than in the popular imagination. The familiar honeybee belongs to the genus Apis, which accounts for only seven of the thousands of described bee species. Most bee species are in fact solitary and adults are active for only a matter of weeks each year. Bees comprise about 1,200 genera and over 20,000 species spread all over the globe except for the polar regions, including areas with permafrost where the ground remains frozen practically throughout the year.

Unlike for most other insect groups, the tropics do not host particularly high numbers of bee species. Instead, bee diversity is greatest in areas with Mediterranean climates. The Mediterranean basin in particular, is one of the richest hotspots of bee diversity worldwide.

Over 2,000 species of bees are known from Europe, among which 400 species are endemic.
Due to its particularly high diversity, Europe has an important international responsibility in the conservation of bees.



2022: First factsheets online

2023: Second batch of factsheets online

2024: Third batch of factsheets online