Bees are social creatures and play an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating a number of plants, flowers, and vegetables. However, they are also capable of causing great distress to home and business owners. Thousands of species of bees exist throughout North America but only that of the honey bee, bumble bee, and carpenter bee are typically encountered by those living in Warwick and throughout most of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Closely related to ants and wasps, these insects share similar characteristics. Bees are divided into three sections, head, thorax, and abdomen. Each species have thick, short bodies, have six legs, and are covered with hair.
• The honey bee is generally ½ inch long and has bands of yellow and brown. Some varieties are mostly black but all have striations in varying colors.
• Carpenter bees grow to be about an inch long and have black and yellow stripes. They differ from bumblebees in that their fur often exhibits metallic reflections in various colors such as purple, green, dark blue, and yellow.
• The bumblebee also grows to be about an inch long and has alternating yellow and black stripes. They are furry and are distinctive from honeybees in that some have what looks like a red tail.
Generally, the diet for most bees is comprised of nectar, pollen, and water. Honey bees prefer blue or violet flowers, and often times bees from one hive will exclusively forage from one type of flower.
Nectar, the liquid taken from inside the flower, is fed to bees to give them energy, pollen is fed to larvae, and Royal Jelly (a mixture of pollen, enzymes produced by female bees, and honey) are fed to larvae that are expected to yield hive queens.
To be close to their food source, bees prefer to live near gardens and wildflowers. This might include meadows, fields, as well as a homeowner’s backyard. They build their hives in hollowed out trees and other wooden structures like the peaks of garages, and anywhere they can find shelter from the elements.
PROBLEMS WITH BEES
Overall, 5% of the American population is allergic to the venom of bees. For these people, getting stung could mean a trip to the hospital due to anaphylactic shock. When bees choose to build their hives inside or close to man-made structures, it can cause tremendous distress and anxiety for those working and living nearby. Even for those who are not allergic, a bee sting means pain and swelling.
Carpenter bees are capable of destroying wood, which can cause structural damage that leads to both financial issues and safety concerns.
Bees are most active during the spring, summer, and early fall. They live in colonies with a specific hierarchy of groups that include workers, drones, and queens. Worker bees are responsible for nursing, cleaning, feeding, and defending the hive. Male drones, who lack stingers and cannot defend the hive, live specifically to mate with the queen - who is the hive’s only fertile female. These drones die shortly after mating.
While not outwardly aggressive toward humans, if bees feel threatened, they will sting a human or animal. Bees swarm when a new colony is being established.
Bees carry a variety of pests and parasites. They can also transmit diseases to the hive which can cause death to the hive and/or tainted honey. American Foulbrood is a serious disease borne from bacteria that requires the entire hive to be burned completely.
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
As territorial creatures, a bee population nearby a home or office that has gotten out of hand will quickly be noticeable. Homeowners may see a handful of bees (or more) at a time hovering near eaves or untreated wood, or making their way beneath shingles. Several bees might also be easily recognizable around an old tree.
Bees will build their hives in a variety of locations including broken window moldings, attics, between walls, between dog-eared fences, in and around sheds, etc. Hives that are breaking down will give off an unpleasant odor. Also, honey from the hive may seep out and be visible as dark spots on the walls or ceiling.
Keeping bees from building hives on or near property is generally almost impossible. Luckily, there are steps to take to make the location less attractive to them. Pick up any fruit on the ground that has fallen from fruit trees, make sure all gaps and cracks are sealed in windows and walls, and never leave outside structural wood untreated, as this is especially appealing to carpenter bees.
Bees are not usually aggressive, but they will attack a human if they feel threatened. Home and business owners wielding over-the-counter bee repellant are likely to get attacked. Part of the reason for this is that the individual has no way of knowing how many bees exist within the hive, or hives. The best course of action is to take note of where bees are hovering, swarming, and entering and exiting, and relay this information to a professional pest control provider.
Bee eradication can often be difficult as it involves identification of the bee species, uncovering the location of all of the hives, and treating the problem so that it is effectively eliminated without harm to people or animals.
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 Warwick 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.