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Bees: Facts, identification, and photos

What’s all the buzz about bees? Bees are essential to our ecosystem. They play a major role in pollination, plant growth, and producing honey. Bees pollinate all kinds of flowering plants, including most of our crops. Without bees, our ecosystem would suffer greatly. 


Although we love bees, bees can be dangerous when they reside near or inside your property. Bee stings can be painful and potentially life-threatening for those allergic to bee venom. Understanding the types of bees and their behaviors is important to develop a proper treatment plan. 

bee on white flower

Type of bees

When we think of bees, we typically think of honey or bumble bees, but there are actually over 20,000 species of bees. Bees come in all different shapes and sizes. Some common types of bees found in the United States are bumble bees, carpenter bees, honey beesAfricanized honey bees, European honey bees, Japanese honey bees, and sweat bees.

chart of common bee types

How long do bees live?

A bee's life span can vary depending on the type of bee and if it is a queen, drone, or worker bee. There are four stages in a bee's life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. The lifespan of a bee can also vary depending on the activity level, food consumption, and resource availability. 

 

Queen bees are responsible for reproducing and typically live anywhere from two to five years. Drone bees' primary purpose is to mate with the queen, and their lifespan can vary as they usually die soon after mating with the queen. Worker bees gather food and nectar and work within the hive. Worker honey bees have an average life span of five to seven weeks

 

How do bees make honey?

Of the many types of bees, honey bees are the primary ones that produce the sweet, sticky substance we know as honey. Bees make honey by using their long tongues to collect nectar from flowers. Bees have an extra stomach called the honey sac, where they store the honey after collecting it. Once the nectar is in the bee's stomach, an enzyme called glucose oxidase will help break down the nectar. 


In order to reduce moisture content in the honey, honeybees will regurgitate the nectar from their stomach and use mouth-to-mouth to pass it to the hive’s bees. The hive’s bees will then chew on the nectar for around 30 minutes to reduce the moisture content from 70% to about 20%. This process will result in the honey we all know and love. The flavor, color, and aroma of honey can vary depending on the types of flowers the bees collect their nectar from. 

 
bee in honey on a honey comb

What do bees eat?

Although there are many different types of bees, bees primarily eat nectar and pollen they collect from flowers. Nectar provides the bees with carbohydrates to help give them energy, while pollen is a source of protein and nutrients. 

Honey bee larvae will typically eat honey unless selected to be queen bees, which will then eat royal jelly. Royal jelly is a white secretion produced by young female worker bees, and it is consumed throughout the larval development of the future queen bees. Consuming only royal jelly, chosen honey bees will double the size of an ordinary honey bee. 

What should I do if I have bees? 

Oftentimes, many DIY methods of tackling bees can be dangerous and ineffective because they do not always treat the source of the problem. The first step to addressing bees is to determine the type of bee, its location, and the size of the infestation.  If you think you have a bee problem, it’s best to contact a beekeeper or a bee control professional.

It’s also important to seek professional help because different types of bees, like honey bees, are protected. Terminix technicians are trained and knowledgeable when it comes to pest control for bees. Our technicians will inspect your property, develop a treatment plan, recommend working with a beekeeper, and identify potential entry points to prevent bees from entering your home. Treating or removing honeybees is always the last resort. Honeybees will only be treated if a beekeeper cannot safely remove them and if they pose a significant threat.  For your bee control and other exterminating needs, contact us today to learn more.



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