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Online Pest Library - Bee's

Bees Bees have a somewhat mixed relationship with the human population. Although these insects are responsible pollinating flowers and reducing many insect pests, their stings can be life threatening to those who are allergic.

Identifying a Bee
Bees have short and somewhat rounded bodies, with long antennae. They fly with four wings, the front two being larger than the hind ones. The bumble bee is black and yellow in colour, and has a very fuzzy appearance. Similar in appearance to the bumble bee is the carpenter bee, which only displays yellow hair on the top half of their bodies - the bottom usually being shiny and black. The honey bee can be distinguished from the others by its orange-brown colour.

The Damage Bees Can Cause
The greatest threat posed by bees is the danger of their stings; for those that are allergic, a bee sting can be fatal. In cases where the subject is not allergic, the sting is still very painful, although not usually life threatening.

In most cases, bee stings occur only when the insect's hive has been threatened or the bee has been provoked, such as having been stepped on. Aggressive behaviour is sometimes witnessed in the male carpenter bee which will hover in front of a person's face or buzz around their head. However, this aggressive behaviour is not a threat, as the male carpenter bee does not have a stinger.

There are also situations where the bee's nest, hive, or gallery causes damage to a structure. For example, the carpenter bee will burrow into wood to build cells for its eggs.

Bee's Life Cycle
In social species, such as the bumble bee, an inseminated queen will spend the winter underground, emerging in the spring and building a hive. The queen lays only a few eggs initially, nourishing them with nectar. In the early season the eggs hatch into sterile females (workers). As more workers hatch, the queen will increase the number of eggs laid.

In late summer the fertilized eggs laid by the queen become other queen bees. The founding queen will also lay unfertilized eggs will hatch into drone bees, which are males of the species.

Non-social bees, such as the carpenter bee, will build cells for their eggs, laying 1 egg per cell and providing nectar for a food source.

Depending on the species, a bee takes between 16-100 days to grow from egg to adult.

Bee's Habits
Most bees are not aggressive and will not search for something to attack, however, social bees will attack to defend their hive or nest. Africanized honey bees are considered to be aggressive and will sting with little provocation. Unlike other bees, the Africanized honey bee or swarm will pursue a victim for over 300 feet, whereas other bees will pursue less than 10.

Bumble bees forage for nectar and pollen, travelling up to 3 miles in their search, and store very little honey in their nest. Honey bees, on the other hand, will store significant quantities of honey in their hives.