European Honey Bees

Identification

  • Colour Reddish brown in colour, with black and yellow striped patterns on the abdomen
  • Size 15 - 20 mm in length
  • Also known as Apis mellifera Linnaeus
  • Description The European honey bee, is not native to Canada but was introduced to North America by European settlers and is now established throughout the Canadian provinces. Typically unaggressive, the bee will sting if threatened, leading to problems when nests are too close to human habitations. In recent years, beekeepers across the country have also imported various subspecies of the European honey bee, including the Italian honey bee (Apis mellifera ligustica) and the Caucasian honey bee (Apis mellifera caucasica). Both subspecies are considered more docile than other species of the European honey bee.

General Facts

Why do I have European honey bees?

The European honey bee nests in hollow trees and similar types of cavities. At times, these insects construct nests near human habitations, such as alcoves, under beams, and in wall voids.

How worried should I be about European honey bees?

Because these insects use stinging as a defence mechanism, humans and domesticated animals alike could be at risk when nests are established close to manmade structures. Generally harmless in most cases, the venom from a European honey bee sting may prove fatal to people with serious bee allergies. Removal of the nest remains imperative and may require the services of a pest control professional.

How can I prevent European honey bees invading?

Avoiding bees can prevent problems from occurring in the first place. Unlike wasps, most bee species, are not naturally aggressive and become hostile only when provoked or nesting areas become disturbed. For specific species of bees, different preventative tips may also help. With leaf cutter bees, protecting plants with cheesecloth or some other sort of barrier may shield the vegetation from damage. Along the same lines, 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. While bees typically display nonaggressive 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.
Learn more about bee prevention here.

Other pests related to European Honey Bees

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