In the natural world, bees provide an extremely useful service as pollinators. However, it becomes difficult for people to see the benefits of these insects when they invade Bucks County homes and offices or become unwelcome guests at barbecues.
Bees can become a constant headache for property owners, particularly during the summer months. Moreover, they can represent a very real health hazard for people who are allergic to their sting. Even people who do not have an allergy would prefer not to be stung, which is usually the reason to seek a professional bee control.
Common species in Bucks County include honey bees, bumble bees and the carpenter bee. Regardless of species, the population can be controlled with minimal environmental impact by an experienced exterminator.
Bees are six-legged, flying insects with a single pair of antenna. The familiar honey bee is approximately one-half of an inch long and features yellow and black stripes. Bumble bees are slightly larger, averaging between one-half and once inch in length. They also may be yellow and black, but some varieties are black and orange. While both honey bees and bumble bees are social insects, carpenter bees are more solitary. They are close in size to bumble bees, but bumble bees have abdomens that are covered in yellow hairs while carpenter bees do not have hair on their abdomens.
Most bee species survive largely on a diet of nectar and pollen, both of which are collected from flowers. Some of the nectar that bees collect is converted into honey. Bees, especially the youngest members of the colony, also consume honey.
Bees are quite focused on sweets when it comes to human foods. Anything with a high sugar content, like sodas or desserts, is likely to be sought by foraging bees. They also may be drawn to fruits, sauces and dressings.
Honey bees and bumble bees live in large colonies. However, they prefer to build their nests in different habitats. Whereas honey bees look for high places like trees in which to place a nest, bumble bees prefer to nest underground. Carpenter bees are like honey bees in that they seem to prefer nesting in high spots, but they do not live in colonies.
Bees may place a nest under the eaves of a building or even inside an attic. Sometimes, a bumble bee colony will build an underground nest adjacent to a human habitation. When it is possible, bees may build a nest in wall cavities. This means that the property owner may be dealing with a bee infestation in which the pests may regularly enter the building.
PROBLEMS WITH BEES
While people tend to be most concerned about being stung, bees actually can be quite destructive when they establish a colony in or on a building. They damage the vapor barrier in walls, chewing through it and the wood or stucco to cause damage that can be difficult to repair. Dry rot and mold are also possible as a colony that has nested within walls begins to die. The honey they produce begins to leak from the failing hive, settling on wooden components, which begin to rot. This problem can be expensive to repair, especially if it is not caught early.
Nearly all species of bee are capable of behaving aggressively if conditions are right. Late summer and early fall are the seasons in which they are likely to be most aggressive. However, if they feel threatened at other times, they can easily become agitated. Bees may emit an "alarm" pheromone when they sense danger. This alerts other colony members to a threat, which is why an attack by one bee can become an attack by several.
Bees are mainly diurnal. As the sun sets, they tend to become sleepier and do not stray far from the hive.
While bees are not known for transmitting sickness to people or pets, they still represent a major health concern. Even someone without an allergy to bee stings may find themselves in danger if they are stung multiple times.
The risk is even greater for someone who is allergic to stings. For them, a single sting can prove to be life threatening if it does not receive prompt medical treatment. Some of the symptoms that they may experience include generalized swelling, dizziness, fainting, nausea and difficulty breathing. Anyone who develops these symptoms after being stung should see a doctor immediately.
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
Property owners may notice these signs when they are dealing with a bee infestation:
• Multiple sightings of bees in and around a certain building
• One or more people receiving stings
• Constant sounds of buzzing
• A nest on the exterior of a building
• Discovering a nesting site on the ground or in a nearby tree
Preventing bee stings and infestations may be possible with these tips:
• Avoid wearing fragrances when outdoors that might attract bees
• Be cautious when drinking sodas and juices outdoors as bees are drawn to these beverages
• Do not keep food outside during barbecues
• Seal all cracks and holes in the building's exterior with caulk or metal screens
• Make certain that any honeycomb left over from an earlier infestation is removed
• Reduce clutter in the yard to minimize nesting sites
• Keep doors and windows closed
• Make certain that window and door screens are in good repair
• Place tight lids on all trash receptacles
For effective treatment of a bee issue, rely on a licensed pest control service to identify, locate, and properly treat all of the bees and beehives on the property.
SafeGuard Pest Control has been providing bee treatment for their Bucks County clients for over 20 years. With decades of experience in the business, you can count on SafeGuard to safely and effectively treat any type of bee problem.