Like all insects, they have three body parts – a head, thorax and abdomen. Their head is hairy with large, dark eyes. The thorax is hairy and reddish-brown. The abdomen is striped dark and light – the light rings can be from white to yellowish-orange. It is also hairy, though less so than the thorax. The abdomen has a venom gland. It supplies the stinger with poison used to attack anything that threatens the hive. They have six dark legs. The back pair has a “pollen basket” where the bee stores collected pollen. They are up to ¾” long (2 cm).