Pest Identification

Bees

Latin Name

Order Hymenoptera

Appearance

Found globally, bees are winged insects of the order Hymenoptera, super-family Apoidea. There are more than 20,000 recorded bee species. Megachile pluto, the largest of these creatures, is reported to be 3.9 cm long, while Perdita minima, the most diminutive of bees, are shorter than 2 mm long. Bees can be black or brown with red, yellow or lustrous blue stripes.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

While some bees are solitary, species such as honey bees and bumble bees are tremendously social. Bee colonies are comprised of three castes: the queen bee, infertile female worker bees and male drones. The queen mates and lays eggs for the span of her life. Honey bee queens can live up to five years, though most average a lifespan of two to three years. Male drones exist solely to fertilize the queen and die soon after having fulfilled their task. Female worker bees perform a multitude of tasks necessary to the survival of the hive. As a result of their constant laboring, their average life span is usually a mere six weeks.

Reproduction

All bees are hairy, a crucial trait for pollen collection. Flowers and flourishing vegetation often attract bees, and there is no insect as important as the bee when it comes to pollination. Many female bee species have rows of bristles on their hind legs which form a hollow basket. When the bee lands on a flower, pollen grains are combed into the hollow basket and bristles. Cross-pollination occurs when the displaced grains of pollen are distributed to the fertile pistils of other flowers as the bee alights upon them. Although only females are able to transfer pollen, all bees are able to sip the nectar from flowers using a tonguelike organ. This nectar is their primary source of energy. Pollen is sustenance for both adult and larval bees, as it contains protein and other nutrients necessary to their survival. Bees possess an organ that converts nectar into honey, which is collected, depending on the species, inside the hive or bee colony.

More Information

Honey bees can produce substantial amounts of honey, as can several other bee species. As pollinators, honey bees are critical to the environment and the food supply. Unfortunately, they also can become a medical and structural threat if they nest near people and buildings. Bees and other pollinators are protected in many states, so if an infestation should occur in or near a dwelling, consumers should consider contacting a local beekeeper to relocate the nest. A beekeeper can assess the situation and determine if it is feasible to remove the nest. This can be an intensive process, especially if the nest is large. For more information on honey bee nest relocation, contact a local bee keeper or an apiary society .

Bee, common name for a winged, flower-feeding insect with branched body hairs. Bees are dependent on pollen as a protein source and on flower nectar or oils as an energy source. Adult females collect pollen primarily to feed their larvae. The pollen they inevitably lose in going from flower to flower is important to plants because some pollen lands on the pistils (reproductive structures) of other flowers of the same species, resulting in cross-pollination. Bees are, in fact, the most important pollinating insects, and their interdependence with plants makes them an excellent example of the type of symbiosis known as mutualism, an association between unlike organisms that is beneficial to both parties.

Bees will choose a nesting site in many places where people may disturb them. Nesting cavities may include: buckets, cans, empty boxes, old tires, or any container ranging in volume from as little as 2 to 10 gallons and more. Bees will also choose infrequently used vehicles, lumber piles, holes and cavities in fences, trees, and the ground, in sheds, garages, and other outbuildings between walls or in the open, low decks or spaces under buildings. 

Remove potential nest sites from around buildings and structures.

Often people looking for bee control have recurring bee problems caused from an established bee hive was not properly removed. An average, a beehive has 50+ lbs of honey. Effective honey bee control is done by removing the honeycomb in addition to suppressing the removed bee nest, and performing exclusion work (methods of bee proofing a structure in a sound manner so that bees cannot return).