Members of Apidae include out best known and most conspicuous bees, including honey bees Apis mellifera, bumble bees Bombus, and large carpenter bees Xylocopa. Some females in this group carry pollen in flattened sections of their hind legs called corbiculae. Many apids are excellent pollinators of crops, in part due to their ability to sonicate, or buzz pollinate, plants with poricidal anthers.

Other members of this group are convincing bumble bee mimics. Chimney bees Anthophora, digger bees Habropoda, and turret bees Ptilothrix all resemble common bumble bees in appearance, but are all solitary and fast and zippy in flight.

This family also includes the largest group of cleptoparasitic, or cuckoo bees, which lay their eggs in the nests of other bees. They are nomad bees Nomada, cellophane-cuckoos Epeolus, longhorn cuckoos Triepeolus, and calliopsis-cuckoo nomads Holcopasites.

This family was merged with the now defunct Anthophoridae family a few decades ago.