Bees

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Identification

  • Colour Yellow and/or black
  • Size Between 11-25 mm in length
  • Also known as Honey bees, carpenter bees, bumble bees

General Facts

Where do they live?

Bees are found throughout Canada, and exhibit unique nesting habits that vary according to species. Bumblebees and carpenter bees build colonies, which are made up of different cells with an egg laid inside each one. The bumblebee makes nests similar to the hive-like constructions of the honeybee, while carpenter bees nest in soft woods, including man-made structures.

Bee life cycle

The bee starts its transformative life cycle in the egg before hatching into larvae, pupating, and finally emerging as an adult. In social bee species, a single queen maintains the responsibility of laying each egg, while the other sterile females do not reproduce but instead stay with the queen to take care of the young. Newborn females may be raised to become future queens responsible for starting new colonies and continuing to propagate the species.
Certain social species, such as bumblebees and honey bees also build smaller colonies. Each colony begins with a single reproductive female laying eggs and maintaining the nest. When new females are born, a division of labour typically occurs, with the queen only laying eggs and other females tending to them eggs. In most social species of bees, the queen may live for several years, while most workers tend to die after a few weeks or months. Males generally die after mating.

Why do I have bees?

Bees often nest in inconvenient locations and can even cause property damage. Carpenter bees burrow into soft woods and may nest in eaves, window trims, siding, wooden shingles, decking, and even outdoor furniture. In extreme cases where the carpenter bee repeatedly nests in the same area, the structural integrity of the nesting site may be compromised. Similarly, leaf cutter bees cause aesthetic damage to plants when cutting leaves and may also inflict damage on the stalks of plants used for nesting purposes.

How worried should I be about bees?

Bees are beneficial insects due to their role as plant pollinators. However they do sting and the risk of getting stung is often the main problem caused by bees. Many species are known to sting humans and other animals, though most bees only sting when threatened or defending the nest. Bee stings may be painful or even fatal in extreme cases where the victim has a serious allergic reaction to the bee venom. Bumblebees, unlike other bees in the Apidae family, are capable of stinging multiple times, as the stinger is smoother and does not detach. The bumble bee sting is also one of the most painful.

How can I prevent bees invading?

Unlike wasps, most bee species, are not naturally aggressive and become hostile only when provoked or nesting areas become disturbed. The best way to prevent bee problems is to make your property less desirable for them to nest, remove or modify potential nesting sites and attractants. Painting or staining and weather-treating wood structures often dissuades carpenter bees from attempting to nest, as the insects tend to only attack weathered and untreated wood. Protecting plants with cheesecloth or some other sort of barrier may shield the vegetation from leaf cutter bees. Planting flowers or flowering vegetations away from commonly accessed areas will prevent foraging and nesting by social bees.

While bees typically display non-aggressive behaviour, large infestations may still lead to attacks and stings on humans and pets alike. For the proper removal and prevention of bee infestations, contacting a trained pest control specialist is typically the most serviceable solution.

Types of Bees

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