A swarm of bees

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Bee nests: facts and identification

A bee nest on your property can put people nearby at risk. If left untreated the nest could produce a swarm that is dangerous to anyone in and around the property. Furthermore, a bee nest can present a danger to pets and humans allergic to bee stings

Information is key in figuring out the type of nest when facing a bee infestation. Bee species and nest identification is crucial to safe removal of the stinging insects. Bee nests can be a lot of trouble to identify and remove by yourself, so let us do it for you, please contact an Ehrlich Pest Control Technician today.

Not sure what kind of bee nest you're seeing? We can help.

How to identify a nest

The best way to identifying a bee nest is to determine what type of bee it belongs to. Bee species and nest identification are crucial to safely removing the stinging insects the correct way.

Information is key in figuring out the type of nest when facing a bee infestation. You should look for the type of bee, the type of nest, and if you're actually seeing a bee swarm.

1. Types of bees

The most common type of bees people in North America will run into are honey bees and carpenter bees. Carpenter bees will nest into wood, while honey bees nest into trees.

2. Types of nests

Along the east coast, the most common types of nests you'll see are ground bee nests and honey bee nests. However, you may also see a variety of wasp nests which can look similar. Here is how you can tell the difference:

Honey bee nests

Honey bee nests or hives are what we generally think of when we think of bee nests. Honey bees will take shelter in hollowed out trees, and will make their nests with wax secreted from their abdomen.

However, despite popular belief, you will never see a honey bee nest in an exposed location, like hanging on a branch. Honey bees like to make their nests inside trees, homemade bee boxes, or even man-made structures.

Bee nest on the side of a tree.

Ground bee nests

Ground bee nests are exactly like what you think. They are bee nests that are on the ground!

Some bee species, including polyester bees, nest underground and have mounds that look like ant nests. The openings are bigger than ant nests and the female ground bees build their nests next to each other.

Although, these bees do not sting when disturbed, they will show up every year and spread.

Ground bee nest on a dirt ground.

Bee nests vs wasp nests

The main difference between bee nests and wasp nests are their size, color, and where they are located. Wasps nests have a grayish appearance and have the general shape of a football. Bee nests will have more of a yellowish hue and are are hidden away from sight.

You can also tell the difference by the amount of activity around the nest. Bees are social insects and will live in colonies either underground or in trees. You'll see bees swarming and buzzing around their nests as they go in and out. Wasps will hang around their nests, but do not swarm in the same way.

Since wasps do not swarm around their nests as much as bees do, they will defend their nest much more aggressively than bees. Both bees and wasps will sting you if they're threatened, but wasps will definitely look to inflict pain. 

Wasp nest on the side of a tree.

3. Bee swarms

If left untreated, bee nests can get bigger and develop into a swarm which will affect your entire property or business. A swarm occurs when a bee colony splits and the Queen bee is replaced.

Swarms are often found in tree branches, vegetation, fences, mailboxes, and even on the ground. Bees swarms are a danger to both you and your home, especially if you have pets or members in the household that are allergic to bees.

Why you need to call a bee nest professional

Bee nest removal is not a DIY project. You should not under any circumstances attempt to remove the nest on your own, as there may be more bees nesting elsewhere. With an untrained eye, bee nest removal may seem easy, but you will never know the severity of the problem unless you call a professional.

If you have bee nests on your property and would like to have them removed, please contact us to get an inspection today.


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