A swarm of bees

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Bees: information and resources

Bees are amazing for our environment as they pollinate plants and help our ecosystem flourish. However, when a group of bees decides to build a hive near your home, they can become a danger to people, especially if the hive is disturbed. Educating yourself on bee species and understanding their behaviors is critical in developing the proper bee control strategy.

Contact your local bee control expert

What do bees look like?

  • Size: .08” - 1.5”
  • Color: Black or brown with golden yellow stripes
  • Body: Oval shaped

What you need to know about bees

Though some characteristics and habits of bees vary from species to species, like pollination, there are a few things that are consistent across all species, like their lifecycle stages.

  • Colony

    Bees can be classified as either social or solitary. Social bees are just that — they form large colonies and their hives contain many bees. Solitary bees are quite the opposite and live independently or in smaller colonies. They fly alone to and from their tiny nests and have just enough resources for themselves. Each bee colony typically consists of a queen bee and worker bees, and sometimes drone bees.

  • Lifecycle

    Bees go through three stages on the way to adulthood. The development process can vary between bee species and each species develops at a different pace. Regardless, every bee begins as an egg. After an egg hatches, it turns into larvae, then pupae, then into an adult.

  • Pollination

    Plants and crops need bees for pollination. When a bee lands on a flower, it transfers pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts of the flower, resulting in the fertilization of the plant. Most crops for fruits that we eat require pollination for growth.

Types of bees

There are many different types of bees in the United States and below are a few of the most common bees found in the Eastern United States.

Africanized honey bees

Africanized honey bees typically live in warmer states and are famous for their aggressive behavior.

Bumble bees

Bumble bees are smaller bees with tiny hairs on their body. They have little interest in attacking humans unless threatened.

Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees are the least aggressive stinging insect, but they can cause the most damage to the wood around your home.

Honey bees

Honey bees are the most common bees people encounter and are essential to the environment as pollinators.

Why are bees important?

The most important thing that bees do is pollinate. Pollination is very important in agriculture and is necessary for crop growth. Without bees, many of the crops in this world could not survive, and we would miss out on many important foods like apples, broccoli, and berries. Bee pollination is extremely valuable to our world's crop quantity and quality.

Are bees endangered?

Yes, there are many bee species that are endangered because of various circumstances, such as human activities and climate change. Harsh winters, rising temperatures, floods, and droughts all affect bees’ ecosystems slowly destroying their habitats and resources.

Bumblebee on a flower

Frequently asked questions

  • Do all bees sting?

    No. Not all bees sting, but many bee species have stingers and will sting if they feel threatened.

  • How do bees make honey?

    Worker bees (females) fill their stomachs with nectar from flowers before returning to the hive to convert it into honey. Honeybees reduce the water content in honey and add sugar to limit the ability of bacteria to grow in it and spoil it.

    Before nectar becomes honey, it enters a bee's stomach. An enzyme in a bee’s stomach, called glucose oxidase, breaks down the nectar and helps produce the honey.

    The honeybee then regurgitates the nectar from the honey stomach, and it is passed from mouth–to–mouth between the hive's bees to reduce its moisture content. Each bee chews the nectar for about half an hour.

    When the nectar's moisture content has been reduced from around 70% to about 20%, it has reached the state that it becomes the honey we consume. The honey is stored in cells within the hive and covered with a wax seal.

  • What’s the difference between wasps and bees?

    Though it may be hard to tell, bees and wasps have different body shapes and characteristics. The main difference between the two is that bees have hairy bodies and flat legs, whereas wasps have smooth bodies and narrow legs.

  • Do all bees pollinate?

    Yes, but not all bee species pollinate our food crops. Some play an operant role as pollinators for many flowering plant species. Research has shown that 80% of pollination is done by commercial honeybees while the remaining is comprised of various wild bee species. The list of pollinators is long and includes hummingbirds, flies, moths, wasps, beetles, bats, and butterflies among many others.



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