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Types of Bees

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are seen most often on flowers. They pollinate plants and gather nectar to make honey, but do not make nearly as much honey as honey bees. Bumble bees are not particularly aggressive while buzzing from flower to flower and are much more interested in the next flower than they are in you. However, they are very quick to defend their nest and will not hesitate to sting if they feel their nest is threatened.

Bumble bees tend to build fairly simple and disorganized nests in; dry grass clippings, piles of dried leaves, porch furniture cushions, insulation, or other loose material. I once discovered bumble bees flying through a broken attic window, crossing the attic, and nesting in an old discarded mattress. They may also nest underground or under exterior concrete slabs such as patios or sidewalks.



Yellow Jackets

Yello Jackets Yello Jackets

You know those "bees" that like your gatorade more than you do? The ones that seem to show up at every family picnic or backyard barbeque like an uninvited and very unwelcome guest? These are yellow jackets. Yellow Jackets are easily recognized by black and yellow stripes.

When Yellow Jackets nest in trees, shrubs, under decks, or high in the eaves, their nest is very visible and easy to identify; a upside down teardrop-shaped nest constructed from gray paper. Yellow Jackets, like wasps and hornets, actually make this paper themselves by chewing on tiny slivers of wood. The young are hatched and food is stored in the nestís center or "core" of hexagonal (or six-sided) cells.

When yellow jackets nest inside a structure (such as your home) the nest is not at all visible. You'll see them flying in and out at some small gap, crack, or crevice on the exterior of your house. Note: Please do not seal this entrance hole shut. You may even be able to hear yellow jackets inside. Listen to your wall or ceiling for a crackling, tickling, rustling-leaves sound. Those are yellow jackets going about the business of building their hive and slowly chewing through your plaster or drywall.




Yellow Jackets / Ground Bees

Ground Bees Ground Bees

Ground bees are actually a type of yellow jacket. They build hives two inches to two feet underground often using abandoned mole or mouse burrows. They are much smaller than other yellow jackets but are fairly aggressive and can become very easily agitated.




Wasps

Wasps Wasps

One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "What bee stings hurt the most?" Wasps. Without a doubt the most painful "bee" sting doesn't even come from a bee at all.

Wasps are long and very thin particularly at the waist. Their long droopy legs hang below as they fly back and forth along eaves and gutter lines to enter their favorite harborage site - attics.

Wasps prefer nesting in attics but will nest practically anywhere; in eave peaks, behind shutters, under deck railings, in gas grills, swing sets, mailboxes, and light fixtures. Their nests aren't very large and can be tucked into any little nook or cranny.

They seem to prefer new construction to old, and I keep very busy treating wasp infestations in suburban housing developments. While a wasp problem can be "spot" treated, the most effective way to solve such a problem is with an overall house treatment designed specifically for wasps.




Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees Carpenter Bees

See those holes in the wood along the eaves? Looks like a carpenter climbed up there and drilled them perfectly round. Actually, the "carpenter" responsible was just over an inch long, weighed only a few grams, and she (yes, they're mostly females) flew up there and drilled a perfectly round 3/8 inch hole with her mandibles.

They do not eat the wood but rather make tunnels through it in which to lay eggs and raise young. While carpenter bees are strictly considered "wood-destroying" insects, the damage they do is typically limited to surface wood and they are not likely to do any damage to the structural or weight bearing wood of a house.

Carpenter bees are solitary insects, but they will often nest in close proximity to other carpenter bees. Left untreated, they can grow to large numbers and eventually completely destroy the wood in which they are nesting and tunneling.

Note: While carpenter bees are strictly considered "wood destroying" insects, they typically will infest only the wood in which you see them nesting. They don't "get into your house" to destroy studs, rafters, and joists.




Honey Bees

Honey Bees Honey Bees

These are the bees that people most often associate with bees. They are also one of the most beneficial insects on the planet. Their role in pollination is vital to all sorts of fruit and vegetable crops. It is the honey bees' instrumental and indispensable role in pollination that makes their recent and unexplained disappearance, a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, such a great concern.

Bees in a hollow tree or beekeeper's box are all well and good, but when they invade your home it can be quite a different story. Honey bees are capable of producing massive hives containing tens of thousands of workers and weighing hundreds of pounds doesn't go well in the living room, does it?

When honey bees nest inside a structure (such as your home) the nest is not at all visible. You'll see them flying in and out at some small gap, crack, or crevice on the exterior of your house. Note: Please do not seal this entrance hole shut.

Because they are so beneficial to man and the environment, every effort is made to take these bees alive and transport them to a safe, more suitable location. In a situation where this is not possible, the bees will be destroyed and their nest removed. This is probably one of the most involved, tedious, and time-consuming jobs.




Hornet

Hornets Hornets

The expression "as mad as a hornet" is an accurate one. Bald-faced hornets are certainly the physically strongest stinging insect that I encounter. It is the only one able to sting directly through my protective clothing or shoot venom into my eyes if it hits hard enough against the protective netting covering my face.

Hornets nests are entirely exterior; trees, shrubs, under decks, and high in the eaves. They construct a "football" or upside down teardrop-shaped nest from gray paper. Hornets, as do wasps and yellow jackets, actually make this paper themselves by chewing on tiny slivers of wood. The young are hatched and food is stored in the nestís center or "core" of hexagonal (or six-sided) cells.

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