Yet, if a lot of people visit your home, they can quickly become unwelcome guests for you and your family. Almost 4,000 varieties of bees live in North America alone, and there are almost 20,000 species elsewhere.
Bees are among the most social of creatures. Honeybees live in colonies of up to several thousand – practically a small town. Those colonies are built on a caste system that includes the queen bee, female workers, and male drones.
If you’re worried about a colony near your home, it’s important to know the difference between bees and wasps – for the purposes of both pest control and treating stings. Elimination methods vary, and it’s possible that a license will be required to remove a bee colony due to the chemicals or treatments involved.
Bees Versus Wasps and Yellow Jackets
- The bodies of Wasps are small, four-winged, and brightly colored, with black or yellow patterns frequently seen.
- Bees have two pairs of wings, much like wasps. Nonetheless, bees have a more rounded body and are darker or brown in coloration (relating to pollination).
- Wasps are more aggressive and persistent by nature, despite the fact that they might sting if provoked.
Bees are acrobatic flyers that can reach speeds of 12 miles per hour or more, despite their small size. This makes it more difficult to exclude them from your property. You’ll need to know which species you’re dealing with before you start work.
The this bee would earn the title for the way it pollinates crops, flowers, and orchards if an insect could be called a helpful workhorse. Bumblebees will fly out in search of nectar and pollen after spending the winter underground to seek out new nesting sites.
Bumblebee colonies are often considerably smaller (50-400 insects) than honeybee hives, despite the fact that they are social. Bumblebees will create a nest in a dry, safe location, whether in abandoned mouse holes, gaps in siding, stacks of wood, or even compost heaps.
How To Identify:
- From half an inch to about one inch long,
- With fuzzy or hairy bodies, they may appear plump.
- Carpenter bees are sometimes confused with this insect.
- Wooded regions, fields, and parks are where you’ll most often find them.
- Rodent holes are commonly used to construct hives on the ground, however some hives can be found in trees and birdhouses.
- It can sting you several times.
- Homemade remedies might be used to regulate it.
This species is not social and is one of the most common bees found in the United States. Because of their persistent drilling — which is their way of creating a nest for their young — they nests are discovered in trees or buildings. Branching off into the wood further, young carpenter bees create new tunnels that increase the chance of harm to the building.
How To Identify:
- ½” to 1” long
- Hibernate in their tunnels during winter and mate in spring
- Usually seen near the eaves of a home
- The only way to get stung is by a woman.
- When humans try to wave the bees away, males are drawn to movement and approach them.
- DIY methods (dust or liquid) may be used to regulate it.
This species is said to have been the origin of the expression “busy as a bee.” They can fly for kilometers, but prefer to stay within a 300-foot radius of their hive. Honeybees are beneficial to farmers because they pollinate over 100 agricultural crops.
A big colony nearby your home might be a problem if it has a beneficial function. When its hive is threatened, this species is likely to become more defensive or aggressive and sting in self-defense.
How To Identify:
- ½” long
- Hives may be found in the gaps of trees as well as on the rocks’ surfaces.
- Thousands of honeybees may be found in a colony.
- Stingers are found on both workers and the queen bee.
- There is a hacky way to remove it.
1. Know the Type of Bee
Different behaviors and nesting or hives are seen in the species we’ve discussed. Honeybees, for example, are not known for drilling their way through wood like carpenter bees are. Bees are a bother rather than a danger, since they are neither aggressive nor predatory.
2. Repair and De-clutter
Bees try to locate sites that are close to yours when they’re constructing their nests. Check for obvious entry points like gaps in siding or holes in wood to make sure your property is being cared for. They may be attracted to lush flower or vegetative areas, as well as mounds of leaves or rotting brush. Patch or clean potential problem areas on a walk-through of your home and yard.
3. Know the Signs of Infestation
Clear your cabinets and floors of crumbs and other food scraps, then secure open food in containers. To interfere with the food smell and deter ants from crossing the barrier, leave pet food out in a bowl placed in vinegar water.
How the Seasons Affect Bees
During the winter, bee activity tapers off, but only honeybees do not hibernate. Honeybee colonies, in fact, start a new year with the autumn and early winter. To compensate for the previous year’s losses and prepare for spring, the queen lays eggs. A cluster of bees at the front of the hive as the days become warmer is one indication of an expanding colony.
Winter is about survival for bumblebees and carpenter bees when they hibernate. Insects stay in their nests and tunnels, so you’re unlikely to see much activity near your home. Their objective is to grow their houses or locate new ones in which to raise their children when they emerge with the onset of spring.
Work after dark when catching carpenter bees. Attach a piece of red cellophane to the front of a flashlight. Because Carpenter bees are blind to red light, you may locate their holes without causing them to become aware. If you employ an insecticidal dust, make sure to wear protective garments and a dust mask since the particles may fly.
Bees aren’t even close to being the most concerning insect. Mosquitoes, ticks, and cockroaches are not among the insects they carry. They’re usually fairly innocuous, only stinging when they’re threatened. Despite widespread myths, they prefer to construct hives in far-flung areas far from human habitation. Those who are allergic to them, or who come into contact with the more aggressive varieties of bees, may find themselves in danger. Take a closer look to see what you can do yourself and what may need the help of a professional if you have a serious bee issue.
Important Note: The Ecological Benefits of Bees
Many of our flowers and crops depend on bees for pollination. Bees bear a big responsibility.
Although flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies and moths all pollinate flowers to some extent, the bee is the most prolific and dependable. We would have to do the job ourselves or hire additional insects if we didn’t have them.
The significance of the honey bee cannot be overstated. They produce $30 billion in crops each year. They pollinate 70 of the roughly 100 crop species that supply 90% of the world, according to the BBC.
Bee extinction could result in the loss of all plants pollinated by bees, as well as all animals that eat those plants, up the food chain. The amount of fruit and vegetables in grocery stores would be cut in half. In reality, the world’s human population of seven billion people may not be able to survive.
Unfortunately, we are on the verge of this probable outcome. We’re getting dangerously close to the abyss thanks to Colony Collapse Disorder. “A occurrence when the bulk of worker bees in a colony (hive) vanish, leaving a queen, food, nurse bees, and immature bees behind,” according to National Geographic. Colony Collapse occurs when there are no adult worker bees left to transport nectar and pollen back to the hive.
Bee management requires a cautious approach. Bees can be a valuable resource, so don’t assume they’re a bother. In reality, by planting bee-friendly specimens and familiarizing themselves with native bees, which rarely cause a problem or sting people, many individuals actively encourage a bee presence in their area.
Bee venom allergies may affect certain persons severely. According to the Mayo Clinic, this may include faintness, vertigo, fainting, headpains, regurgitation, and even convulsions. You’ll want to take more severe measures to prevent a bee presence on your property if you or someone in your family has an allergy. It’s also critical to investigate purchasing an epinephrine autoinjector, which may stop life-threatening allergic responses in their tracks in the event of allergies.
Bee venom allergies may affect certain people severely. According to the Mayo Clinic, this may include feelings of dizziness, faintness, vertigo, headache, nausea, and even convulsions. You’ll want to take more aggressive measures to avoid a bee presence on your property if you or someone in your family has an allergy. It’s also critical to investigate getting an epinephrine autoinjector, which may halt fatal allergic responses in their tracks, in the event of allergies.
Taking preventive steps so you aren’t dealing with a full-blown issue later on is one of the simplest ways to handle a bee or wasp issue.
1. Make Yourself Unappealing to Bees
You may reduce the risk of being stung while you’re out by following a few simple steps, if you’re finding that you get stung.
- Darker clothing is recommended. White and yellow are vivid, dazzling hues that draw in bees and other stinging insects. They resemble flowers.
- Since they can mimic floral scents that bees are drawn to in order to eat nectar, fragrances will also attract bees. Before heading out to the yard, you should avoid wearing perfume or fragrant shampoos.
2. Store Food Properly
While honey bees and native bees are less drawn to food than wasps and yellow jackets, it can still help protect them if you securely seal and store food that is outside. If you have parties or picnics on your patio,
- Until your meal is being served, keep food coverings such as foil or plastic on.
- Once everyone has finished eating, take it inside as soon as possible.
3. Secure Your Entrances
Tighten all entrances to your residence, particularly those that are smaller and may be found in crawl spaces or under overhangs. Bee colonies may enter and establish themselves in your home if you leave ajar. If there are any things lying around in your yard, use caulk or expandable foam for cracks and crevices, or simply put them away. To begin constructing a hive, honey bees are drawn to the following locations:
- Empty plant pots or buckets.
- Garden sheds and basements are two locations that aren’t frequented often.
- Swing sets and play sets are both made of empty pipes. Your first step should be to block up the bottoms if you bring these onto your property.
It’s also a good idea to turn your lights off at night if possible. Bees and a variety of other insects are drawn to light.
Bees aren’t always a problem, though. Rather, whether or not you need to deal with them is determined by their actions.
Bees can experience a variety of problems, including the following:
- Breaking into your house via a tunnel. Carpenter bees should be exterminated immediately if they begin establishing colonies in your home. They may damage your home’s foundations and support beams.
- In your home, you may build hives. This may compromise the structural integrity of your home if bees are able to get inside and construct hives. Hives may weigh anywhere from 20 to 100 pounds when filled with honey, and even more. Imagine tearing out insulation, demolishing other buildings, and tugging on the interior of a wall. Several home-building materials are damaged by the honey.
- It stings a bit. Consider removing or relocating a hive if you or your family members are frequently stung or suffer allergies. Bee stings are also harmful to pets, and some of them have allergies.
- Swarming is a term used to describe the activity. While the term “swarming” is synonymous with any cloud of insects, it has a distinct meaning in the context of bees. When a section of the colony departs with its own queen and starts a new colony elsewhere, it is known as swarming. Bees become more hostile at this time because their queen is on the go and they are temporarily homeless. You are unlikely to have an ongoing problem with swarming because it is a temporary activity. If there is a huge colony nearby that constantly outgrows its habitat and sends some of the insects away, it is an exception.
When you see a bee, there is a tendency to want to kill it so that you will not be stung. This is a biological drive, but it’s not helpful in any way.
The colony as a whole is unaffected by one bee. In any event, unless they are alarmed, the majority of bees will not sting. One of the best ways to ensure a sting is to swat them or make other threatening gestures, because it puts the bees on the defensive.
When a bee dies, it releases pheromones that alert other bees in the area, so swatting and killing one bee might make your situation worse. Even though you swatted one bee, other bees that come will be more likely to sting than the first.
To deal with a large infestation, you can use the following methods:
1. Relocating the Beehive
Unless it is near an entrance to your home or in a place in your yard where children and pets like to play, don’t relocate a beehive. Even after you relocate the hive, it will have to remain in your yard. Bees might get confused and have trouble finding it if you move it too far. As a result, this approach is best suited for a big yard that you can keep neat and somewhere to deposit it where your family and pets don’t frequent.
While the procedure may be challenging, you shouldn’t take on the job unless you are certain that you can complete it successfully. If you have chosen to relocate a hive, you may always contact professional beekeepers for assistance.
Examine the hive and choose a new location based on how big it is. On sturdy tree branches, in cinder block mounds, or among wood, some good spots may be found. You’ll want to ensure that you have assistance when moving a beehive, which takes at least two people. Move the hive at night, since it’s when all the bees are inside but aren’t as likely to fly out. Schedule a time to do so.
Make sure you and your helper are properly dressed with long pants, long sleeves, gloves, goggles, and a face mask before approaching the hive.
3. Block the Entrance of the Hive
When you’re transporting the hive, make sure no bees can get out. A breathable material that the bees can still breathe through should be used to block the entrance. Tulle or mesh might be used in this case. Take care to cover the entrance while slowly and carefully wrapping the material around the hive.
4. Move the Hive
Gently pick up the hive and relocate it to its new location, maintaining as much levelness as possible. You can then remove the material you used to obstruct the entrance once it’s in place. Monitor the hive for about a week after it has been successfully relocated, but do not disturb it. The bees will have enough time to clean up any honeycombs or other objects that moved during this period. You may then determine if the bees have relocated to their new hive successfully.
5. Bee Catchers
If you’ve noticed a lot of bees in your area but haven’t recognized a hive, or if they’re simply drawn to the blooms in your yard yet don’t reside there, beehive catchers are a good option. There are both kill and no-kill bee catcher options on the market, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may also make your own bee catcher, and monitoring the catcher and releasing bees on a regular basis takes barely a bit more effort.
DIY Bee Catcher
- Maple syrup
- 2-liter soda bottle
At the point where the slope ends, cut off the head of your soda bottle. To the open-faced bottle, add a little bit of maple syrup and water to cover the bottom. Take the head off, turn it over so that the top is facing down towards the mixture, and then stick it back on upside down. Bees can enter but cannot exit until you release them. Make sure the edges are stapled together securely.
6. Bee Sprays
Both repellents and insecticides are available as bee sprays. If you’re dealing with a hive inside your home or in a difficult-to-reach area like inside your walls, it’s preferable to only use insecticide sprays as a last resort. We’ve already done the legwork and uncovered several of the greatest bee sprays on the market that you may employ to wipe out a hive.
Another challenge with bee sprays is that you must apply them directly to the bees or hive, which might be harmful if you do it on your own. Contacting a pest control expert to spray the hive with the proper apparatus and protective gear is recommended unless you feel comfortable doing it yourself.
DIY Bee Spray
- 1 quart of water
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar or canola oil
- A few drops of dish soap
Add the DIY ingredients to a spray bottle. Bees will be unable to fly and will die as a result of the combination.
Maybe you have seen a beehive in your yard, but it is far enough away that it isn’t a concern. Spraying a barrier around your home to keep bees from bothering you or entering inside is a great option with bee repellent spray. Other colonies will be discouraged from attempting to set up shop nearby.
There are several bee deterrents available that may suit your particular budget and requirements. Some natural ways to keep bees at bay while using items you may already have in your home are also possible.
Some natural repellents include:
- Garlic powder
- Citronella candles
- Cucumber peels
These are all items that bees are averse to because they don’t like the smell, so leaving them outside near your home can help keep bees away.
Dust insecticide is another way you may try and maybe accomplish on your own if you already recognize that your finest strategy is to exterminate an invading colony. You must prepare similarly to the process of using spray insecticide if you want to apply this dust to a beehive. Make sure you wear long pants, long sleeves, and face protection while participating in the event. In order to effectively use this strategy, you’ll need a foam sealant on hand to cover the hive once the dust is applied.
Quickly apply the dust to the hive through the hive’s entrance, and use as much as you can.
Close off the entrance hole with your spray sealant. This ensures that the bee hive’s contents, including larvae and immature bees, perish as a result of this.
When To Call a Prefessional
Some of these therapies are harmful, and you shouldn’t try to handle bees on your own unless you’re sure that you can do so.
All of the procedures we’ve suggested have been shown to help prevent and manage a bee invasion on your property. Some of these treatments are potentially harmful, so unless you’re certain that you can handle them, don’t try to deal with bees on your own. If they believe their home is being tampered with or their queen is in danger, they are likely to sting and even swarm. They are not typically aggressive creatures.
Calling an exterminator is a much better idea. Bee colonies are seldom dangerous in and of themselves, so these professionals will not have to use insecticides for the most part. Spraying or using chemicals is often not required for the entire job. Experts have the necessary expertise to determine if the colony can or should be saved, as well as to evacuate it with the least possible threat to those nearby without having to fear about stings.